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Monday’s Biotech Insights: Concert Pharmaceuticals Inc (CNCE), TG Therapeutics Inc (TGTX)


Concert Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CNCE) shares skyrocketed today following the news that Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) will acquire Concert’s deuterated Kalydeco variant, CTP-656, for $160 million upfront with up to $90 million in milestones. The drug is currently in phase 2 studies in monotherapy, with results expected in the fourth-quarter of this year.

J.P. Morgan analyst Cory Kasimov commented, “We believe this acquisition is a prudent move for VRTX as it fends off potential competition to Kalydeco, not only important as a monotherapy but also as a backbone in future triple combos. This move is also in-line with VRTX’s stated business development strategy of keeping abreast of early-stage CF products that could enhance the company’s approach to treating the underlying cause of CF.”

EvercoreISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum added, “While the drug acts similarly to Kalydeco, by potentiating the CFTR protein, this variant can likely be dosed once per day (as opposed to Kalydeco’s twice-a-day dosing). So far, all of VTRX’s CF combinations require twice-a-day dosing because of the Ivacaftor backbone – using this molecule, it is possible future VRTX combos could become once-daily.”

As of this writing, all the 5 analysts polled by TipRanks (in the past 12 months) rate Concert Pharmaceuticals stock a Buy. With a return potential of 55%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $24.50.

TG Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:TGTX) shares exploded nearly 80% higher today, after the drug maker announced that its experimental leukemia drug TG-1101 (ublituximab) has hit its primary endpoint in a phase 3 study in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients.

CEO Michael S. Weiss said, “We believe the data today demonstrate that the addition of TG-1101 to ibrutinib enhances the therapeutic benefit of ibrutinib in patients with previously treated high risk CLL, the patient population with the poorest outcome on ibrutinib. We believe the results observed in the combination arm are extremely compelling and the regimen has the potential to become the standard of care for treating patients with high risk CLL that have progressed from other therapies.”

“We believe that using combination therapy to accelerate and deepen response in poor prognosis high risk CLL is critically important for patient outcomes and we look forward to sharing these data with the FDA in the coming months to discuss filing for accelerated approval.  Most importantly, we would like to thank the investigators and their patients for participating in this significant research.”

Aegis analyst Jason Wittes has recently pounded the table on TGTX, noting, “The company has two lead oncology drug candidates in Phase 3 trials: TG-1101 and TGR-1202. The company looks to package them as combination therapies at very competitive prices versus combination therapies from two different sources, which is particularly important to payers treating lymphomas and other less aggressive cancers with prolonged treatment regimes. We expect TG to make rapid progress through the clinic and emphasize the importance of owning multiple assets. In addition, the company will look to begin Phase 3 clinical evaluation of TG-1101 for MS later this year, following mid-year results of a Phase 2 trial […] We have not yet included revenues for the MS opportunity in our models, as we await Phase II results.”

All the 5 analysts polled by TipRanks rate TG Therapeutics stock a Buy. With a return potential of 172%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $26.25.

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