Agenus Up on Positive Prophage Data

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Agenus Inc. (AGEN) announced encouraging final results from a phase II study (n=46) on Prophage autologous cancer vaccine. Shares of the company jumped over 10% following the announcement.

Prophage is being developed for the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM.V). Results from the study revealed that the median overall survival of approximately 24 months was double in patients treated with Prophage vaccine along with standard of care treatment in comparison to standard of care treatment (gross total resection along with radiation and Merck’s (MRK) Temodar alone). We note that the overall survival rate for the standard-of-care treatment is 14.6 months.

Results showed that half of the patients enrolled for the study lived for two years. Moreover results from the study showed that 33% of patients under the Prophage arm survived at 2 years and were continued to be studied for survival. Patients under Prophage treatment experienced a median progression-free survival of almost 18 months, significantly higher than in the standard of care arm.

GBM is the most common form of malignant brain tumor of which over 14,000 people die in the U.S. as per the American Cancer Society. We are encouraged by the study results.

We note that Agenus has another prophage series vaccine in its pipeline. The candidate is currently in a phase II study in combination with Roche’s (RHHBY) Avastin in patients with surgically resectable recurrent glioma. We expect investor focus to remain on these candidates going forward.

Agenus carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Synergy Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (SGYP) is a better-ranked stock with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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