AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) and Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PPHM), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapeutics to stimulate the body’s immune system to fight cancer, today announced that they have entered into a cancer immunotherapy clinical trial collaboration.  The collaboration will evaluate Peregrine’s investigational phosphatidylserine (PS)-signaling pathway inhibitor, bavituximab, in combination with AstraZeneca’s investigational anti-PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, durvalumab (MEDI4736).  The planned Phase I/Ib trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of bavituximab in combination with durvalumab in multiple solid tumors.

Peregrine and AstraZeneca will collaborate on a non-exclusive basis, to evaluate the combination of bavituximab and durvalumab with chemotherapy as a potential treatment in various solid tumors. The Phase I part of the trial is expected to establish a recommended dose regimen for the combination and the Phase Ib part of the trial will assess the safety and efficacy of the investigational combination. Under the terms of the agreement, the initial trial will be conducted by Peregrine.

Robert Iannone, Head of Immuno-Oncology, Global Medicines Development, at AstraZeneca said, “We believe that combination therapy in immuno-oncology has the potential to be a novel and highly effective approach to treating cancer. Our partnership with Peregrine provides the opportunity to explore an exciting, novel combination that could deliver important clinical benefit to patients across a range of cancers.”

Bavituximab and durvalumab are investigational immunotherapies with different mechanisms that assist the body’s immune system in fighting cancer. Bavituximab targets and modulates the activity of phosphatidylserine, a highly immune-suppressive molecule expressed broadly on the surface of cells in the tumor microenvironment.  The treatment increases activated T-cells in tumors and fights cancer by reversing the immunosuppressive environment that many tumors establish in order to proliferate.  MEDI4736 is a monoclonal antibody directed against programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1).  Signals from PD-L1 help tumors avoid detection by the immune system. Preclinical data have demonstrated that combining the enhanced T-cell mediated anti-tumor activity of bavituximab with checkpoint inhibitors, like PD-L1 antibodies, prolong the ability of tumor-specific T-cells to continue attacking the tumor.

“Data generated to date have shown significant potential for combining bavituximab with agents targeting the PD-1/PDL-1 pathway and we’re excited to further explore this approach in studies with AstraZeneca’s durvalumab,” said Steven W. King, president and chief executive officer of Peregrine. “AstraZeneca is a recognized leader in the immuno-oncology field and this collaboration will play a key role as we continue to fully explore the potential of bavituximab in combination immunotherapies for a variety of clinical applications.” (Original Source)

Shares of Peregrine Pharma closed last Friday at $1.14. PPHM has a 1-year high of $1.75 and a 1-year low of $1. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $1.23 and its 200-day moving average is $1.34.

On the ratings front, Peregrine Pharma has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on July 16, Noble Financial analyst Rahul Jasuja initiated coverage with a Buy rating on PPHM and a price target of $5, which implies an upside of 338.6% from current levels. Separately, on the same day, Roth Capital’s Joseph Pantginis reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $5.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Rahul Jasuja and Joseph Pantginis have a total average return of -5.8% and -4.9% respectively. Jasuja has a success rate of 20.0% and is ranked #3028 out of 3737 analysts, while Pantginis has a success rate of 34.4% and is ranked #3664.

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc is a biopharmaceutical company. It develops novel investigational products that help utilize the immune system to fight cancer, also known as immunotherapy.