Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN), an immuno-oncology company developing checkpoint antibodies and cancer vaccines, today announced that the first patient has been dosed in the company’s Phase 1 clinical trial of AGEN1884, an anti-CTLA-4 checkpoint (CPM) antibody. The open-label, multicenter trial in patients with advanced or refractory cancer is designed to evaluate the safety of AGEN1884 and determine the estimated maximum tolerated dose.
“Advancing AGEN1884 into the clinic is an important milestone for Agenus,” said Garo Armen, PhD, Chairman and CEO of Agenus. “Since the acquisition of 4-Antibody two years ago, we have completed additional strategic acquisitions and formed new collaborations considerably strengthening our antibody research and development capabilities.”
AGEN1884 is an anti-CTLA-4 (cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4) checkpoint antibody that enables the immune system to find and destroy cancer cells. It is the first of a series of CPMs, discovered using Agenus’ proprietary platform, to enter clinical development. Anti-CTLA-4 antibodies have been highly efficacious in treating cancer and curative in some patients for whom standard of care has proven unsuccessful. Recent clinical data also suggests that anti-CTLA-4 antibodies are emerging as a central component of combination immunotherapeutic regimens for fighting cancer.
Agenus has in-house technologies for rapid discovery and development of CPMs using its integrated mammalian, yeast and phage display platforms. The company also possesses the capability to generate optimal cell lines and manufacture GMP grade antibodies and vaccines.
“We expect additional checkpoint antibodies from our portfolio to commence clinical trials during the course of this year. We believe our CPMs, vaccines and adjuvants will provide advantages in advancing the fight against cancers. This effort will be particularly enhanced by our ability to combine these agents as required,” said Robert B. Stein, MD, PhD, Agenus’ President, Research & Development.
This Phase 1 clinical trial is taking place at leading centers in the United States, including The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. AGEN1884 was developed under a Collaborative Research and Development Agreement between Ludwig Cancer Research, 4-Antibody AG and Recepta Biopharma S.A. (Original Source)
Shares of Agenus closed yesterday at $4.15, down $0.16 or -3.71%. AGEN has a 1-year high of $10.16 and a 1-year low of $2.61. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $4.13 and its 200-day moving average is $4.06.
On the ratings front, Agenus has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report released yesterday, H.C. Wainwright analyst Swayampakula Ramakanth reiterated a Buy rating on AGEN, with a price target of $10, which implies an upside of 141.0% from current levels. Separately, on March 12, Maxim Group’s Jason Kolbert upgraded the stock to Buy and has a price target of $7.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Swayampakula Ramakanth and Jason Kolbert have a total average return of -18.6% and -11.3% respectively. Ramakanth has a success rate of 26.8% and is ranked #3792 out of 3829 analysts, while Kolbert has a success rate of 33.8% and is ranked #3824.
Agenus, Inc. is a biotechnology company, which is focused on the development and commercialization of technologies to treat cancers and infectious diseases, primarily based on immunological approaches. Its core technology portfolio consists of Saponin platform and Heat Shock Protein platform. The company within its Saponin Platform is QS-21 Stimulon adjuvant, or QS-21 Stimulon, which is used by its licensees in numerous vaccines under development in clinical trials, some as advanced as phase 3, for a variety of diseases, including cancer, shingles, malaria, Alzheimer’s disease, human immunodeficiency virus and tuberculosis.