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Infinity Pharmaceuticals Notches Upgrade Ahead Of Cancer Conference Presentation

Shanthi Rexaline

Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: INFI) shares are soaring Thursday after an upgrade by Wells Fargo.

The biopharma company's IPI-549 monotherapy data was selected for a "late-breaker" oral presentation at the Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer's annual meeting in November, according to Wells Fargo. 

IPI-549 is an orally administered immunooncology development candidate that selectively inhibits phosphoinositide-3-kinase gamma (PI3K-gamma). It has the potential to treat a broad range of solid tumors, according to Infinity. 

Interim monotherapy dose escalation and translational data from the therapy's Phase I dose trial will be presented between 2:15 and 2:30 pm EST on Nov. 10th at the conference, analyst Jim Birchenough said in a Thursday note. (See Birchenough's track record here.)

Wells Fargo upgraded Infinity Pharma from Market Perform to Outperform and increased its price target from $1 to $5.

At the time of writing, shares of the company were skyrocketing 73 percent to $2.90.

IPI-549's Upside Potential Not Reflected In Valuation?

The cancer therapy has a high likelihood of proof-of-concept response rate data, Birchenough said. A proof-of-concept is a demo done to verify that certain concepts or theories have the potential for real-world application — in other words,  a prototype designed to determine feasibility.

" ... With likely validation of tumor macrophage targeting in immuno-oncology and a unique mechanism of action, we see upside potential not reflected at current stock price," Birchenough said. 

Trial History

The last update of the monotherapy and OPDIVO combo data for IPI-549 was done at the American Academy for Cancer Research meeting in April 2017, with the data being as recent as from March 20, 2017.

Delving into the data, Wells Fargo said that in 16 patients, refractory to all available therapy and with PD1/PDL1 therapy as the last treatment, six had stable disease lasting for 24 weeks or more at monotherapy does of 10 mg to 40 mg, with dose escalation planned to 60 mg.

A monotherapy dose expansion for IP1-549 in solid tumors was initiated in the third quarter of 2017, Birchenough said.

"Dose escalation combination cohorts of IPI549 + OPDIVO are ongoing with plans to open expansion cohorts in PD1/PDL1-refractory lung cancer (NSCLC), head and neck cancer (SCCHN), melanoma and PD1/PDL1 naïve triple negative breast cancer 2H17."

Selection Is Cause For Optimism

After reviewing six late-breaker oral presentations at SITC's annual meeting in 2016, Birchenough said there was a mix of earlier biomarker-focused studies, less meaningful updates on larger trials as well as two new PD-1 combination studies.

Although IPI-549 development still remains at an earlier stage of development than other late-breaker orals at SITC, Birchenough said he believes the selection per se is a cause for optimism.

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Latest Ratings for INFI

Date Firm Action From To
Oct 2017 Wells Fargo Upgrades Market Perform Outperform
Jun 2016 Morgan Stanley Downgrades Overweight Equal-Weight
Jun 2016 William Blair Downgrades Outperform Market Perform

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