thoughts on the JPM SMid Cap presentation this morning
This was the first time I heard Mr. Mulroy speak. He did a sufficient job presenting a thorough outlook and update on the company.
I'm still getting my arms around the network biology platform but was impressed with the additional opportunities combining the Signaling inhibitors and the Nanotherapeutics. Lots of Coals in the fire, of which MM-121 and MM-111 remain the most exciting to me. That said, MM-398 has had impressive results according to the CEO, they are looking to combo with MM-398 in the future. His thought was 398 to get in and 151 to target EGFR. They really have the Erb3 signaling locked up and hopefully they see some fruits from this labor. committed group though with a 5% turnover rate, these Cambridge boys are committed. He did speak of a "silver Creek" spin off but I didn't understand the details. It was related to the overall Network Biology Platform and is setting up in Cali. Maybe someone else picked up on this. I was only listening and did not take any notes, so if I have any of these forward looking combo statements wrong, I apologize.
You got it right. Merrimack has designed not just individual drugs, but therapy platforms that will use combinations of several of their drugs at once.
A bit of background: What is getting far better understood these days as a result of research done by companies like Merrimack and others are the multiple chemical pathways a cancer cell uses simultaneously to survive attacks by the immune system and / or chemotherapy. It is no secret that no single agent will kill a cancer cell, and thus the game is to figure out exactly what combination of agents to use and which chemical pathways in a cancer cell to target.
Network Biology, the core of Merrimack's platform, has been extremely valuable at clarifying these issues, and led to their discovery of the important role the Erb 3 receptor in cancer cell survival years before anyone--even in academia--had figured it out. It's a core cancer therapy discovery and a major win for the company. MM 121 and MM 111 were designed to inhibit growth in cancer cells that used the Erb 3 pathway to survive, and over the past few years both Abbot and Roche have begun to chase Merrimack to be the first to market a therapy for Erb 3 dependent cells. A nice validation to have, and happily Merrimack is well in the lead in this race.
As I mentioned, it's now clear that more than one pathway in a cell must be targeted to stop it from growing, and that in addition to halting growth you then have to kill the cell(stopping growth only means the tumor doesn't get any bigger). So ideally you combine something that stops a cell from growing with something that kills it. Merrimack understand this well and their drugs were conceived as a system to cover both needs. They believe that not only are they first with this new class of Erb 3 drugs which could be as important as the Erb 2 drugs(Herceptin etc.), but that their other drugs like MM 398, MM 302, MM151 are significant improvements of current versions of existing therapies.
Sorry to run on so long. Bottom line is that cancer is complicated and understanding that complexity is the key to conquering it. Merrimack's 'systems' approach is in my opinion the state of the art in cancer research, and their therapies under development show enormous promise to help people survive this dreaded disease.
No run on at all... your comments support the proprietary computational models they have at their disposal. It is hard to value these models, only after efficacy is seen in the clinical development, can you step back and appreciate the speed that MACK reach that pathway. Remain excited about 2013