Kitov Pharma (KTOV): Investors Are Taking Some Profits Off the Table, Stock Tumbles 20%

What a wild ride it’s been for Kitov Pharma (KTOV). After skyrocketing nearly 170% in Tuesday’s trading session, shares of the pharmaceutical firm are down about 20% as of 10:05 a.m. EST on Wednesday. Kitov didn’t make any announcements, so what led to the big drop? It’s quite possible that we’re either seeing investors take profits off the table or maybe the winding down of a short squeeze. Before today, the stock had racked up a gain of over 200% in just the last month.

Yesterday, investors were encouraged to hear about the company’s new findings from its ongoing collaboration with researchers from the Hebrew University  of Jerusalem. The data reveal NT219’s high affinity and selective binding to its target proteins.

NT219 has been shown to bind directly to Insulin Receptor Substrates (IRS) 1/2 and to the Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3), both known modulators of tumor survival, metastasis and drug resistance. Data showed that a short exposure of cancerous cells to NT219 was sufficient to trigger irreversible shutdown of these pathways, resulting in a long-term anti-cancer effect.

Based on these latest findings, Kitov and Yissum, the Technology Transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, have extended their collaboration agreement in order to deepen the understanding of NT219’s efficacy in overcoming tumors’ resistance to immunotherapy.

As previously reported (Reuveni et al, Cancer Research, 2013) upon binding to IRS1/2 a three-step mechanism is activated. IRS1/2 dissociates from the cell membrane, undergoes serine phosphorylation which prevents rebinding to the receptor, and is finally degraded by the proteasome. This sequence of events leads to the blockage of AKT – a major cancer cell survival pathway.

“We are excited about the new data which demonstrate NT219’s unique mechanism of action. NT219, a new and promising concept in cancer therapy, is designed to prevent, reverse, and delay resistance to anti-cancer drugs. We are developing NT219 as a drug to be used in combination with other therapies that has a potential to overcome cancer drug resistance and to boost the efficacy of numerous oncology drugs on the market today,” stated Kitov CEO, Isaac Israel.


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