The American Association of Clinical Oncology conference is wrapping up in Chicago. The three day conference brings together thousands of oncology professionals and pharmaceutical companies to share research and new best practices. H.C. Wainright analyst Reni Benjamin attended several presentations and offered highlights on Oncothyreon Inc (USA) (NASDAQ:ONTY), Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIA), and Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN).

Benjamin notes that Oncothyreon Inc presented updated Phase 1b data on ONT-380, a breast cancer therapy. Benjamin believes that the data suggests, “ONT-380, when combined with Xeloda and/or Herceptin, shows potent anti-tumor activity in a heavily pre-treated population.” The most recent data continues to support ONT-380’s “relatively benign safety profile.” Although no patients in the test group had to stop the treatment for safety or side effect reasons, four patients required a dose reduction. The analyst concluded, “We continue to believe that ONT-380’s mild toxicity profile makes it an excellent candidate for use on combination therapies. We view these updated results from the ongoing Phase 1b positively with regards to safety and early indicators of efficacy in this highly pre-treated patient population.”

Reni Benjamin currently has a Buy rating on Oncothyreon. He has rated the stock three times since October 2014, earning a 100% success rate recommending the stock with a +121.4% average return per ONTY recommendation.

Benjamin went on to attend Ariad Pharmaceuticals’ presentation on long-term efficacy of Ponatinib, or Iclusig, a treatment for specific forms of leukemia. Four years after the initial trial, 31 of the 43 patients “achieved a MCyR or better” and 22 patients maintained the response four years later. Another trial for Iclusig began in 2014 to test the correct dosage of the treatment. Benjamin believes data from this trial “supports the ‘induce, reduce, and maintain’ concept for Iclusig.”

Reni Benjamin currently has a Buy rating on Ariad Pharmaceuticals. He has rated the stock seven times since September 2013, earning an 83% success rate recommending the stock with a +21% average return per ARIA rating.

Agenus Inc presented data on Prophage, a series of individualized cancer vaccines. The data was derived from a test group of 46 patients who received the vaccines in addition to standard therapy. There was a contrast between the two control groups, leading Benjamin to suggest a “rational stratification strategy for the planned pivotal trial of Prophage in newly diagnosed GBM patients, which could initiate later this year.” The analyst concluded, “We believe these data represent the first positive outcome from a randomized, controlled study of a cancer vaccine in GBM demonstrating a statistically significant OS benefit. While we find the statistically significant benefit observed with rindopepimut encouraging in the recurrent GBM setting, we believe that the inherent differences in mechanisms and settings between rindopepimut and Prophage studies make direct comparison difficult.”

Reni Benjamin currently has a Buy rating on Agenus. He has rated the stock six times since February 2014, earning a 100% success rate recommending the stock with a +99.2% average return per AGEN recommendation.

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