Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIA) announced that clinical data on brigatinib, its investigational anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor, will be presented at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) being held in Vienna, December 4 to 7, 2016.

“We are excited that updated data from the ALTA trial on brigatinib in patients with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer will be presented at WCLC this year. We continue to be encouraged by the activity and safety profile seen in the ALTA trial, and especially the correlation between investigator and independent review assessments of response and response durability. ALTA data to be presented at the meeting will include approximately three months of additional follow-up as compared to the abstract,” stated Timothy P. Clackson, Ph.D., president of research and development and chief scientific officer at ARIAD.

The ALTA trial

The ALTA (ALK in Lung Cancer Trial of AP26113) trial enrolled 222 patients with ALK-positive (ALK+) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had been treated with and experienced disease progression on their most recent crizotinib therapy. Patients were randomized one-to-one to receive either 90 mg of brigatinib once per day (QD) (Arm A), or 180 mg QD, preceded by a lead-in dose of 90 mg QD for seven days (Arm B). In addition, patients were stratified by presence of brain metastases at baseline and best response to prior crizotinib therapy.

The primary endpoint of the ALTA trial is investigator-assessed confirmed objective response rate (ORR) as measured by the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST). Key secondary endpoints include progression-free survival (PFS), confirmed ORR assessed by an independent review committee (IRC), CNS response and PFS, duration of response, safety and tolerability.

Brigatinib received Breakthrough Therapy designation from the FDA for the treatment of patients with ALK+ NSCLC whose tumors are resistant to crizotinib, and was granted orphan drug designation by the FDA for the treatment of ALK+ NSCLC. The FDA has accepted brigatinib’s New Drug Application and has granted ARIAD’s request for Priority Review and set an action date of April 29, 2017 under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA). ARIAD intends to submit a Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) for brigatinib to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in early 2017.

Abstract Highlights on ALTA Trial Update
Data as of February 29, 2016 with Independent Review Committee (IRC) Data as of May 16, 2016

  • Accepted as a poster presentation, this abstract reports updated clinical data from the ALTA trial. A total of 222 patients with ALK+ NSCLC treated with prior crizotinib therapy were randomized in the study (110 patients in Arm B at the 180 mg dose level with a seven-day lead-in at 90 mg and 112 patients in Arm A at the 90 mg dose level). The last patient was enrolled in the study in September 2015.
  • The median follow-up was 8.3 months in Arm B and 7.8 months in Arm A.
  • Investigator-assessed confirmed ORR in Arm B was 54 percent. IRC-assessed confirmed ORR in Arm B was 53 percent. Investigator-assessed confirmed ORR in Arm A was 45 percent. IRC- assessed confirmed ORR in Arm A was 48 percent.
  • Investigator-assessed median PFS was 12.9 months and 9.2 months in Arm B and Arm A, respectively.
  • IRC-assessed median PFS was 15.6 months and 9.2 months in Arm B and Arm A, respectively.
  • The most common treatment-emergent adverse events (AEs), grade 3 or higher, (Arm B/A) were (excluding neoplasm progression): hypertension (6%/6%), increased creatine phosphokinase (CPK) (9%/3%), pneumonia (5%/3%), and increased lipase (3%/4%).
  • A subset of pulmonary AEs with early onset occurred in six percent of all patients (in 3% of patients, events were grade 3 or higher); no such events occurred after dose escalation to 180 mg QD in Arm B.

Abstract Highlights from Update on Clinical Data from Patients with Baseline CNS Metastases from Phase 1/2 and ALTA Trials
Data as of February 29, 2016 in ALTA Trial, and November 16, 2015 in Phase 1/2 Trial

  • Accepted as an oral presentation, this abstract reports clinical data from the Phase 1/2 and ALTA trials of brigatinib in patients with ALK+ NSCLC who had brain metastases at baseline.
  • In the Phase 1/2 trial, patients with advanced malignancies, including ALK+ NSCLC, received 30-300 mg of brigatinib per day. Efficacy in both trials and safety in ALTA are reported for patients with intracranial CNS metastases at baseline.
  • In the Phase 1/2 trial of brigatinib, 50/79 (63%) of ALK+ NSCLC patients had IRC-assessed baseline brain metastases. In the ALTA trial, 153/222 (69%) of ALK+ NSCLC patients had IRC-assessed baseline brain metastases. The efficacy analysis of Phase 1/2 trial data was based on an evaluable population (patients with at least one on-study brain scan, n=46), and the analysis of ALTA trial data was based on the intention-to-treat (ITT) population (n=153).
  • For patients with measurable brain lesions, the confirmed intracranial objective response rate was 53 percent (8/15) in the Phase 1/2 trial, and confirmed intracranial objective response rates were 67 percent (12/18) in Arm B and 42 percent (11/26) in Arm A in the ALTA trial.
  • There were 31 patients in the Phase 1/2 trial with only non-measurable lesions, and of these, 35 percent had complete resolution of lesions. In ALTA, there were 55 patients in Arm B and 54 in Arm A with only non-measurable lesions; of these, 18 percent and seven percent of patients, respectively, had complete resolution of lesions.
  • For patients with brain metastases at baseline, median intracranial PFS was 15.6 months in the Phase 1/2 trial (n=46); and 12.8 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.0 – not reached) and 15.6 months (95% CI 7.3-15.7 months) in ALTA Arm B and Arm A, respectively (n=73/ n=80).
  • In the ALTA trial, the most common treatment-emergent AEs, grade 3 or higher (excluding neoplasm progression), in patients with baseline brain metastases were (n=151 treated; Arm B/A): increased CPK (11%/1%), hypertension (7%/4%), increased lipase (3%/3%), and pneumonia (4%/1%).

For both presentations, ALTA data to be presented at the conference in Vienna will be based on an updated analysis, with a data cutoff date of May 31, 2016. These updated data will be included in the MAA application. (Original Source)

Shares of Ariad Pharmaceuticals closed today at $12.87, down $0.33 or -2.50%. ARIA has a 1-year high of $14.34 and a 1-year low of $4.37. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $12.99 and its 200-day moving average is $9.53.

On the ratings front, Ariad has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on November 8, Cowen analyst Chris Shibutani reiterated a Buy rating on ARIA, with a price target of $16, which implies an upside of 24% from current levels. Separately, on November 7, Leerink Swann’s Michael Schmidt reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $20.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Chris Shibutani and Michael Schmidt have a yearly average return of 18.8% and 26.9% respectively. Shibutani has a success rate of 85% and is ranked #216 out of 4223 analysts, while Schmidt has a success rate of 67% and is ranked #21.

Overall, 2 research analysts have rated the stock with a Sell rating, 2 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 5 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 $12.60 which is -2.1% under where the stock opened today.

ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. operates as an oncology company, which engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of small-molecule drugs for the treatment of cancer. Its products include Iclusig and Caregivers.