Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL) announced the outcome from the first planned interim analysis of CELESTIAL, a randomized global phase 3 trial of cabozantinib compared with placebo in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with sorafenib. Following this interim analysis, which was scheduled to take place when 50 percent of the events for the primary endpoint of overall survival (OS) had occurred, the trial’s Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC) determined that the study should continue without modifications per the study protocol. The trial protocol calls for a second interim analysis to take place once 75 percent of events have been observed.

HCC is the most common form of liver cancer and the third-leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.1 The disease originates in cells called hepatocytes, which make up the majority of the liver.2 Without treatment, patients with advanced disease usually survive less than 6 months.3 During 2003-2012, deaths in the U.S. from liver cancer increased at the highest rate of all cancer sites.4 In 2016 it is estimated that over 39,000 new cases and over 27,000 deaths occurred in the U.S. due to liver cancer.5 Across the U.S., EU5 (Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and United Kingdom), and Japan, it is estimated that approximately 117,000 new cases will be diagnosed in 2017.4,6-8 Liver cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide, accounting for more than 700,000 deaths each year. 9

Cabozantinib is not approved for the treatment of HCC. (Original Source)

Shares of Exelixis closed yesterday at $12.08, up $0.54 or 4.68%. EXEL has a 1-year high of $12.22 and a 1-year low of $3.55. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $10.17 and its 200-day moving average is $6.67.

On the ratings front, Exelixis has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on August 29, Leerink analyst Michael Schmidt reiterated a Buy rating on EXEL, with a price target of $12, which represents a slight downside potential from current levels. Separately, on August 4, Stifel’s Stephen Willey maintained a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $12.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Michael Schmidt and Stephen Willey have a total average return of 11.1% and 19.7% respectively. Schmidt has a success rate of 56.9% and is ranked #275 out of 4147 analysts, while Willey has a success rate of 54.5% and is ranked #124.

Exelixis, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company, which engages in the developing and commercializing small molecule therapies for the treatment of cancer. Its brands include COMETRIQ and cobimetinib. The company focuses on their proprietary resources and development and commercialization of cabozantinib.