Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO) announced that its investigational drug, PEGPH20, and a companion diagnostic assay for assessment of hyaluronan (HA) under development by Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. will be included in a groundbreaking pancreatic cancer clinical trial initiative called Precision Promise.

The Precision Promise initiative aims to change the current treatment approach to pancreatic cancer, offering options to patients based on the molecular profile of their tumor. This is being accomplished through the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network leading an unprecedented collaboration that brings together clinicians, researchers, and drug developers. Precision Promise plans to enroll patients at 12 initial consortium sites in Spring 2017.

President and CEO Dr. Helen Torley said: “Halozyme is proud to be participating in this important initiative that has the potential to change how pancreas cancer is treated and improve outcome for patients. I want to recognize The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network for their visionary leadership in bringing the community together. The selection of PEGPH20 and incorporation of HA testing into the trial supports the science and promise of our targeted therapy.”

Pancreatic cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer related death in the United States and is anticipated to become the second around 2020. Nationally, only 4 percent of pancreatic cancer patients enroll in clinical trials.

“Precision Promise is an unprecedented opportunity for patients and is vital to move the field forward,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “Instead of looking for the right patient for a clinical trial, we are designing the right clinical trial for each patient.”

Halozyme’s PEGPH20 is an enzyme that targets and degrades HA in the tumor microenvironment. HA is a glycosaminoglycan – a chain of natural sugars distributed throughout human tissue – that can accumulate in higher concentrations around certain cancer cells, potentially constricting blood vessels and impeding the access of other therapies. Patients with high levels of HA will receive PEGPH20 in combination with other therapies. In preclinical models, this approach has enabled higher concentrations of the therapeutic agent or the body’s natural immune cells to reach the targeted tumor. (Original Source)

Shares of Halozyme closed yesterday at $12.24, up $0.16 or 1.32%. HALO has a 1-year high of $18.65 and a 1-year low of $6.96. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $10.84 and its 200-day moving average is $9.97.

On the ratings front, HALO stock has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on September 16, Piper Jaffray analyst Charles Duncan reiterated a Buy rating on HALO, with a price target of $18, which implies an upside of 47% from current levels. Separately, on September 8, Wells Fargo’s Jim Birchenough reiterated 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, Charles Duncan and Jim Birchenough have a total average return of -6.7% and 21.4% respectively. Duncan has a success rate of 35% and is ranked #3943 out of 4197 analysts, while Birchenough has a success rate of 53% and is ranked #78.

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.