ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. (ZIOP) presented encouraging data on its oncology candidate Ad-RTS-IL-12 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (:ASGCT).
The company stated that Ad-RTS-IL-12 demonstrated potent anti-tumor and anti-cancer stem cell effects in glioma (brain cancer) preclinical and clinical studies. Reduction in tumor mass was observed with Ad-RTS-IL-12 arm as compared to existing treatment standards. Additionally, the candidate was found to prolong survival.
As per data presented by the company, the use of Ad-RTS-IL-12 resulted in significant reduction in brain cancer stem cells (analyzed by measuring nestin levels), which are a key factor in recurrence and metastasis of brain cancer. We expect investors to react positively to the news.
ZIOPHARM is planning to initiate a phase I study on Ad-RTS-IL-12 for brain cancer.
The company is also evaluating Ad-RTS-IL-12 with veledimex in two phase II studies − one for metastatic melanoma and the other for metastatic breast cancer. Data from these studies are expected in the fourth quarter of 2014. The company’s pipeline includes several other novel, multigenic gene candidates in the preclinical stage. ZIOPHARM intends to submit investigational new drug (IND) applications for some of these candidates through 2015.
ZIOPHARM has an agreement with Intrexon Corp. (XON) under which it has rights to use Intrexon’s synthetic biology platform for cancer therapeutics.
ZIOPHARM, a biopharma company, carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other well-placed stocks in the same sector include Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN). While Gilead carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Alexion holds the same rank as ZIOPHARM.