Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO) announced that Eisai Inc. has dosed the first patient in a collaborative phase 1b/2 clinical trial to assess whether Eisai’s eribulin mesylate (HALAVEN®) in combination with Halozyme’s investigational drug PEGPH20 (PEGylated recombinant human hyaluronidase) can improve overall response rate (ORR) – the proportion of women that have a predefined reduction in tumor burden – as compared with eribulin alone as a therapy in women with advanced or metastatic, High-Hyaluronan (HA) HER2-negative breast cancer.

“Initiation of this study is not only a major milestone in our collaboration with Eisai, it underscores our combined focus on advancing the treatment of metastatic breast cancer—one of the most common cancers in women worldwide,” said Dr. Helen Torley, president and chief executive officer.

PEGPH20 is an investigational drug administered intravenously that targets the degradation of HA, a glycosaminoglycan – or chain of natural sugars throughout the body – that can accumulate around cancer cells to inhibit other therapies. Eribulin, a synthetic analog of halichondrin B, a natural product that was isolated from the marine sponge Halichondria okadai, is a microtubule dynamics inhibitor with a distinct binding profile that has been shown in in vitro studies to lead to apoptotic cell death after prolonged and irreversible mitotic blockage. In HA-high triple-negative breast preclinical animal models, the addition of PEGPH20 to eribulin showed a significant increase in tumor growth inhibition and overall tumor regression when compared to eribulin alone.

The collaborative study will seek to determine whether or not the combination therapy of eribulin and PEGPH20 can improve the overall response rate in patients with metastatic breast cancer with high levels of HA. The study protocol includes metastatic HER2-negative patients with HA-high breast cancer that were previously untreated and those that received one prior line of therapy. (Original Source)

Shares of Halozyme Therapeutics closed yesterday at $9.29, up $0.05 or 0.54%. HALO has a 1-year high of $25 and a 1-year low of $6.96. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $8.86 and its 200-day moving average is $9.38.

On the ratings front, Halozyme has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on June 6, Canaccord Genuity analyst Arlinda Lee reiterated a Buy rating on HALO, with a price target of $11, which represents a potential upside of 18.4% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on the same day, Wells Fargo’s Jim Birchenough maintained a Buy 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, Arlinda Lee and Jim Birchenough have a total average return of -25.4% and 19.9% respectively. Lee has a success rate of 21.7% and is ranked #3989 out of 4079 analysts, while Birchenough has a success rate of 50.3% and is ranked #89.

Overall, one research analyst has rated the stock with a Sell rating, 3 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $20.00 which is 115.3% above where the stock closed yesterday.

Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company, which focuses on developing and commercializing novel oncology therapies that target the tumor microenvironment. Its investigational drug PEGPH20, applies a unique approach to targeting solid tumors, allowing increased access of co-administered cancer drug therapies to the tumor. PEGPH20 is currently in development for metastatic pancreatic cancer and non-small cell lung cancer and has potential across additional cancers in combination with different types of cancer therapies.