ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ:ZIOP), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of new cancer immunotherapies, today announced the presentation of clinical and preclinical data from the Company’s Ad-RTS-IL-12 program in various malignancies at the CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR Inaugural International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference taking place September 16-19, 2015 in New York City. Ad-RTS-IL-12 is a novel gene therapy candidate for the controlled expression of IL-12, a critical protein for stimulating an anti-cancer T cell immune response.

The first poster presentation, titled, “Demonstration of Systemic Antitumor Immunity via Intratumoral Regulated Expression of IL-12 in Advanced Breast Cancer and Melanoma Patients,” highlights additional evidence of systemic immune activation with AD-RTS-hIL-12 and veledimex in advanced melanoma and breast cancer patients. The data were drawn from two previously completed open-label Phase II clinical studies: one which enrolled 12 patients with metastatic advanced stage breast cancer, and one which enrolled 26 patients with metastatic melanoma, both exploring the immune-mediated local and systemic anti-tumor effects of Ad-RTS-hIL-12 and veledimex. Among other findings, treatment with Ad-RTS-hIL-12 and veledimex in patients with melanoma was found to increase in the immune cytokine IL-12 and downstream cytokines, IFNg, IP-10 and IL-10, resulting in a significant increase in tumor infiltrating lymphocytes both locally, in injected lesions, and systemically, in non-injected lesions.

The second poster presentation, titled “Demonstration of Systemic Antitumor Immunity via Intratumoral Regulated Expression of IL-12 as a Gene Therapy Approach to Treatment of Cancer,” demonstrates the anti-tumor effects and tolerability of Ad-RTS-mIL-12 in murine models of glioblastoma (brain cancer), colon cancer and melanoma. The data demonstrated dose-related increases in veledimex in both plasma and brain tissue, leading to an increase in expression of IL-12 mRNA and in-tumor IL-12p70 expression with minimal increase in serum IL-12. Ad-RTS-mIL-12 + veledimex also demonstrated systemic memory upon rechallenge in multiple syngeneic mouse models, providing further evidence of systemic anti-tumor immunity elicited by Ad-RTS-mIL-12.

Both posters are available under “Presentations and Publications” on the Company’s website at www.ziopharm.com. In addition to the poster presentations, Laurence Cooper, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of ZIOPHARM, is scheduled to deliver an oral presentation titled “Non-viral gene transfer to redirect T cell specificity” on Saturday, September 19.

“Clinical and preclinical data from our Ad-RTS-IL-12 program continue to demonstrate the ability to achieve both local anti-tumor effect and systemic effects across a variety of malignancies,” said Francois Lebel, M.D., Executive Vice President, Research and Development, Chief Medical Officer at ZIOPHARM. “We look forward to understanding how these results translate to our ongoing, multicenter Phase 1 gene therapy study in malignant glioma as well as our Phase 1b/2 Study in locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer. These data also provide support for our integration of both the RTS® gene switch and cytokines into our broader adoptive cell therapy programs.” (Original Source)

Shares of Ziopharm closed today at $12.59, up $0.68 or 5.71%. ZIOP has a 1-year high of $14.40 and a 1-year low of $2.31. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $10.35 and its 200-day moving average is $10.97.

On the ratings front, Ziopharm has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report released yesterday, Griffin Securities analyst Keith Markey reiterated a Buy rating on ZIOP, with a price target of $21, which implies an upside of 66.8% from current levels. Separately, on August 10, J.P. Morgan’s Cory Kasimov reiterated a Hold rating on the stock .

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Keith Markey and Cory Kasimov have a total average return of -12.5% and 9.9% respectively. Markey has a success rate of 38.9% and is ranked #3530 out of 3771 analysts, while Kasimov has a success rate of 59.6% and is ranked #268.

ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company is engaged in the acquiring, developing and commercializing portfolio of cancer therapies that can address unmet medical needs through synthetic biology.