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Corvus Starts Immunotherapy Study on Coronavirus, Stock Rises

Zacks Equity Research

Shares of Corvus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. CRVS soared about 80.8% after it announced that the initiation of a phase I study to investigate a novel immunotherapy approach for patients with COVID-19. However, shares of the company have lost 8.9% year to date against the industry’s 12.5% growth.

 

The study is designed to evaluate antiviral antibody response in up to 30 COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms. Patients will receive a single dose of CPI-006- humanized monoclonal antibody, with levels of 0.3, 1.0, 3.0 and 5.0 mg/kg, escalating in four cohorts as the study progresses. The objective of the study is to show that CPI-006 has the potential to induce the patient to produce an enhanced antibody response to SARS-CoV-2.

We note that Corvus is studying an agonistic (immunostimulatory) CPI-006, which has shown a potential new approach to immunotherapy of infectious diseases and cancer. In both in vitro and in vivo studies in cancer patients, CPI-006 has demonstrated binding to various immune cells and the inducement of a humoral adaptive immune response- B cell activation and lymphocyte traffickingleading to the production of antigen-specific immunoglobulin antibodies. The use of CPI-006 has also led to increased levels of memory B cells, which are responsible for long-term immunity.

Per the company, in an ongoing phase 1/1b study, 90 cancer patients have been treated with CPI-006, with dosing as high as 24 mg/kg every three weeks. The candidate was well tolerated in these patients and evidence of B-cell activation and lymphocyte trafficking was observed in patients whoreceived single doses as low as 1 mg/kg. 

Per the company, the B cell-activating monoclonal antibody may be a potential immunotherapy for COVID-19 based on its ability to stimulate the production of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The company believes that COVID-19 patients treated with CPI-006 may benefit from an improved time to recovery and building longer-term immunity.

The program may also help the company apply this approach in the treatment of other infectious diseases, including variants of coronaviruses, and as adjuvants in subjects who may respond poorly to preventative vaccination.

The study further increases the scope of the company’s pipeline as it continues to advance its core cancer programs with ciforadenant and CPI-006 addressing the adenosine cancer pathway and CPI-818 for T cell lymphomas. 

Meanwhile, several marketed drugs like Roche’s RHHBY IL-6 inhibitor, Actemra; Incyte/Novartis’ JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor, Jakafi; AstraZeneca’s AZN BTK inhibitor, Calquence; and Amgen’s AMGN PDE4 inhibitor, Otezla,  among others are being evaluated to treat respiratory complications associated with COVID-19, which is the need of the hour.

Zacks Rank

Corvuscurrently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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