Vaccinex, Inc. VCNX announced that it has achieved full enrollment in an early-stage study on its lead pipeline candidate pepinemab (VX15/2503). The study is evaluating pepinemab in combination with Merck KGaA/ Pfizer’s PFE anti-PD-L1 inhibitor Bavencio (avelumab) for the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Primary completion of the study is expected by the end of this year while top-line results are expected in the first half of 2020. Vaccinex is conducting this study in collaboration with Merck KGaA and Pfizer.
The phase Ib/II CLASSICAL-Lung study evaluated the safety and potential efficacy of the pepinemab + Bavencio combo in patients with advanced NSCLC, who are either immunotherapy naïve or have failed prior immunotherapy with an approved checkpoint inhibitor.
Notably, pepinemab in combination with Bavencio showed promising anti-tumor activity in the given patient population.
Moreover, interim data from the study showed that majority of patients benefited from the combo of pepinemab + Bavencio through either halting or reversing tumor progression. The outcomes were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology held in June.
Shares of Vaccinex have rallied 36.1% so far this year versus the industry’s decrease of 2.1%.
We would like to remind investors that Vaccinex is leveraging its SEMA4D antibody platform to develop pepinemab. SEMA4D is an extracellular signaling molecule that helps in the migration of immune cells into cancer cells and other places of infection.
Apart from NSCLC, pepinemab is being evaluated for the treatment of Huntington’s disease. In addition, the candidate is being evaluated in several investigator-sponsored studies for addressing osteosarcoma, melanoma and other types of cancers.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Vaccinex currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks from the healthcare sector include ProQR Therapeutics N.V. PRQR and Compugen Ltd. CGEN, both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
ProQR Therapeutics’ loss per share estimates have been narrowed 3% for 2019 and 4.9% for 2020 over the past 60 days.
Compugen’s loss per share estimates have been narrowed 16.7% for 2019 and 16.3% for 2020 over the past 60 days. The stock has soared 75.1% so far this year.
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