Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIA) announced the results of comprehensive preclinical studies on its investigational tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), AP32788, at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2016. AP32788 is a TKI designed to target specific mutations in EGFR or HER2 present in a subset of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), for whom there are currently no targeted therapies available. The Phase 1/2 clinical trial of AP32788 is expected to begin patient enrollment in the second quarter of 2016.

The data presented were included in an oral presentation entitled, “AP32788, a potent, selective inhibitor of EGFR and HER2 oncogenic mutants, including exon 20 insertions, in preclinical models.” The research conducted by ARIAD scientists showed that in a matched set of engineered cell lines, AP32788 inhibited all tested EGFR and HER2 mutants, including exon 20 insertion mutants, with selectivity over wild-type (WT) EGFR. Inhibition of WT EGFR in non-tumor cells has been associated with dose-limiting toxicities of EGFR inhibitors in patients. Enzymatic analysis confirmed that AP32788 irreversibly inactivated EGFR exon 20 with 20-fold selectivity over WT EGFR, in contrast to other tested EGFR TKIs. AP32788 also induced tumor regressions in a mouse EGFR exon 20 model at doses that were well tolerated.

“These preclinical data on AP32788 demonstrate its potential to potently inhibit exon 20 mutant forms of EGFR and HER2, that are not addressed by currently available TKI treatments,” said Timothy P. Clackson, Ph.D., president of research and development and chief scientific officer at ARIAD. “The selectivity data suggest that efficacious levels of exposure to AP32788 may be achievable in patients with these challenging mutations —a hypothesis we will be testing in the Phase 1/2 trial. We believe AP32788 is the first TKI that has been designed and optimized to inhibit the underlying mutation present in these orphan oncology disease subsets.” (Original Source)

Shares of Ariad Pharmaceuticals are up nearly 2% to $7.38 in after-hours trading. ARIA has a 1-year high of $10.07 and a 1-year low of $4.37. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $6.39 and its 200-day moving average is $6.14.

On the ratings front, Ariad has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on April 15, Cowen analyst Phil Nadeau maintained a Hold rating on ARIA, with a price target of $4.50, which represents a potential downside of 37.7% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on February 25, RBC’s Michael Yee maintained a Hold rating on the stock and has a price target of $8.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Phil Nadeau and Michael Yee have a total average return of 2.9% and -1.0% respectively. Nadeau has a success rate of 44.2% and is ranked #1077 out of 3807 analysts, while Yee has a success rate of 49% and is ranked #2881.