Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO) announced the Pancreas Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has initiated a clinical research study of Halozyme’s investigational new drug, PEGPH20 in pancreatic cancer patients who are candidates for potentially curative surgery. The trial will be conducted within theUCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Phase 2 study will investigate PEGPH20 in combination with gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel (ABRAXANE) in patients with borderline resectable Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC). The study will track the progress of up to 36 patients through chemotherapy and surgical treatment.

PEGPH20 (PEGylated recombinant human hyaluronidase) targets the degradation of hyaluronan (HA), a chain of natural sugars that can accumulate around cancer cells, inhibiting other therapies. By degrading HA, PEGPH20 may increase the access of co-administered chemotherapeutic and immunotherapeutic agents.

“This is a unique study to determine if PEGPH20, when administered in combination with other cancer-fighting drugs, will better prepare patients for surgery,” saidMargaret Tempero, MD, director of the UCSF Pancreas Center. “We will observe outcomes of our patients to learn if this combination therapy with PEGPH20 could make a difference in potentially curative surgery.”

At the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting this year, interim results of the randomized Phase 2 Study 202 clinical study of PEGPH20 with ABRAXANE and gemcitabine showed a doubling of progression-free survival and an improvement trend in overall survival in high HA metastatic pancreatic cancer patients. In addition, the potential risk profile, including the rate of thromboembolic events, were also presented.

“We believe PEGPH20 may improve the effectiveness of co-administered cancer therapies, and both our preclinical data and clinical studies in metastatic pancreatic cancer patients are showing encouraging results,” said Halozyme Chief Medical Officer, Athena Countouriotis, MD. “We are very pleased that independent scientists within academia are interested in focusing on the tumor microenvironment and the potential benefits of PEGPH20 in another area of pancreatic cancer.” (Original Source)

Shares of Halozyme Therapeutics opened today at $23.42 and are currently trading down at $22.29. HALO has a 1-year high of $25.25 and a 1-year low of $7.51. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $22.74 and its 200-day moving average is $17.58.

On the ratings front, Halozyme has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on July 9, UBS analyst Andrew Peters reiterated a Buy rating on HALO, with a price target of $28, which represents a potential upside of 19.6% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on June 4, JMP’s Jason Butler maintained a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $21.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Andrew Peters and Jason Butler have a total average return of 14.9% and 66.3% respectively. Peters has a success rate of 61.1% and is ranked #938 out of 3727 analysts, while Butler has a success rate of 75.0% and is ranked #71.

Halozyme Therapeutics Inc is a biopharmaceutical company. It is engaged in research on human enzymes that alter the extracellular matrix and tumor environment.