"Pharmaceutical Companies Large and Small Are Developing Targeted Therapies to Destroy Cancer" from MARKET PLAYGROUND
OncoSec Medical Incorporated (ONCS), a micro-cap biopharmaceutical company out of San Diego, California, is taking a different approach in developing its two main products: Its advanced-stage ImmunoPulse, a DNA-based immunotherapy to treat solid tumor cancers that have metastasized or spread, and NeoPulse, a drug-based chemotherapy targeting early-stage tumors. Both methods utilize electrical pulses, via a process called electroporation. The typical treatment for late-stage skin cancers is chemotherapy and surgery; however, OncoSec is utilizing ImmunoPulse a noninvasive approach that could improve the quality of life for skin cancer sufferers. Currently OncoSec is conducting Phase II clinical trials with ImmunoPulse, a method that delivers short electrical pulses to the surface of a tumor which causes the pores to open in the membrane of cancer cells, thus targeting the cells more accurately while boosting the effectiveness of the anti-cancer agent it delivers. This process allows a far more effective treatment at significantly lower doses while sparing healthy tissues during early and late- stage clinical trials. The process is more potentially effective with fewer side effects. OncoSec has received almost $12 million in funding and is conducting simultaneous Phase II clinical trials for ImmunoPulse for three types of cancer: metastatic melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Though less common than other skin cancers, these cancers are often drug-resistant and aggressive.
Earlier last month the company announced it has received authorization to CE mark its proprietary gene and drug delivery platform, the OncoSec Medical System (OMS) electroporation device, for use in the European Economic Area (EEA). The granting process involved a comprehensive audit of the company’s quality system as well as thorough evaluation and testing of the OMS electroporation device. This is a big step as Punit Dhillon, President and CEO of OncoSec, noted when he commented that the approval “marks an essential regulatory milestone on the road to commercialization and further approval of the OncoSec Medical System. The CE mark shows that OncoSec has the capability to manufacture and develop a device that meets commercial regulatory requirements.”
In mid November OncoSec presented positive clinical data from its ongoing Phase II metastatic melanoma trial to the 6th World Meeting of Interdisciplinary Melanoma/Skin Cancer Centres. The company presented data that suggests utilizing ImmunoPulse delivers a DNA-based cytokine coded for the immune stimulating agent interleukin-12 (DNA IL-12), and may elicit increased levels of IL-12 in the tumor, thus having the potential to result in a systemic immune response in treating aggressive cancers like MCC without serious side effects. Preliminary analyses of both the Merkel cell carcinoma and metastatic melanoma trials will be based on a subset of enrolled subjects, and will evaluate clinical response to at least one cycle of ImmunoPulse treatment. The positive presentation had a positive response to the company’s stock price, though up almost 20% YTD still appears to be a bargain. OncoSec, with a market cap of $26.36 million, closed December 3rd at $0.34 per share on lighter-than- average trading. ONCS appears to be a good bang for your buck, and should be looked at as a buy.