Today we’re going to take a look at an interesting prospect in the early stage Biotech world – ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (IMUC).
ImmunoCellular Therapeutics an oncology firm based in California whose lead candidate ICT-107 is entering Phase II for patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) which is a specific type of brain cancer. IMUC’s lead candidate targets cancer stem cells with their dendritic cell-based vaccine platform. The Phase I clinical trial was able to demonstrate clinical survival benefits in patients with brain tumors and a Phase II clinical trial initiated earlier this year will run into early 2012. An benefit is that the same platform used on these candidates may also be utilized for Pancreatic, Ovarian, and Breast cancer indications which have substantial market potential while addressing an urgent unmet medical need. According to this recent Press Release, 38% of patients enrolled were still disease-free after 30 months of treatment. This was encouraging news and has propelled the candidate into Phase II.
Top Market Returns Over Various Terms
IMUC has done a nice job delivering stellar returns to shareholders over the years. To pick a few time periods leading up to today’s close, here’s the performance history:
- 3 month return: 9%
- 6 month return: 35%
- 12 month return: 101%
- 24 month return: 443%
Not too shabby!
ImmunoCellular Therapeutics News
IMUC’s next drug candidate is ICT-121, a peptide cancer vaccine for glioblastoma as well as other indications. They also have multiple MABs (monoclonal antibodies) targeting cancer stem cells and antigens.
- Positive interim/final results from the Phase II study for ICT-107
- Potential Listing of IMUC on NYSE or AmEx Stock Exchanges
- Initiation of ICT-121, ICT-140 trials for recurrent GBM and ovarian cancer, respectively
Like many biotech firms, there’s a lot of excitement particularly around the pipeline and lead drug candidate. In addition, IMUC hasn’t been burning through cash at the same rate other outfits often due – only $5 million spent last year for operating expenses for instance. This has enabled IMUC to focus on earlier clinical trials without hobbling the firm with high interest debt. They did end up taking in $8 Million in 1Q of this year to help fund the next generation of clinical trials, but based on the share performance, obviously investors aren’t worried about a near-term solvency problem.
Very much like what we’ve been seeing in recent years, other activities that may further boost shares could include major licensing deals or a buyout. As we’ve seen from the spate of mergers and acquisitions in the large pharma space, in-house pipelines aren’t cutting it so big pharma has been on a binge in terms of both licensing deals and outright buyouts. In the fast-paced biotech world, takeover offers often come with stock price premiums of 50% or more. This is purely conjecture on my part since I’m not aware of any pending deals or rumors for that matter, just citing what I’ve seen play out numerous times over the years as I’ve watched various biotechs being gobbled up by cash-rich/pipeline poor outfits.
This is part of a paid, but independent Research Series on ImmunoCellular Therapeutics. The views and opinions expressed in this Series are purely my own. I have no positions in ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. Rule 17B requires disclosure of payment for investor relations services. www.darwinsmoney.com has been compensated $200 by a third party on 7/27/2011 for an independent review advertisement for ImmunoCellular Therapeutics. For complete disclosure/disclaimer statement, please review the Disclosure Statement relevant to this Series. [Link to Disclosure Policy].