MEI Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:MEIP), an oncology company focused on the clinical development of novel therapies for cancer, announced new pre-clinical data showing mitochondria-specific effects of the Company’s investigational drug candidate ME-344 in cancer cells, including significantly enhanced anti-tumor activity when combined with a tyrosine-kinase inhibitor (TKI). In addition, a recently published study found ME-344 to be a potent inhibitor of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complex I, a direct molecular target.
“We continue to be very excited by the potential of this novel mitochondrial inhibitor,” said Daniel P. Gold, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of MEI Pharma. “ME-344 has demonstrated broad and potent anti-tumor activity in a number of pre-clinical studies, followed by promising single-agent activity in the clinic. Now a body of data is emerging that show compelling anti-cancer effects when combining ME-344 with anti-angiogenic agents, such as TKIs, to inhibit both mitochondrial and glycolytic metabolism. These new data will help to direct future studies of ME-344 as we near completion of our Phase Ib study in small cell lung and ovarian cancers.”
In a paper published in the most recent issue of American Journal of Cancer Research1, the Company’s collaborators at the MIMR-PHI Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne identified mitochondrial OXPHOS complex I as a direct molecular target of ME-344, its inhibition causing an immediate reduction of mitochondrial oxygen consumption. This important finding provides new understanding of how ME-344 induces cell death by disrupting mitochondrial metabolism. A copy of the paper is available at www.meipharma.com.
To gain further insight into its mechanism of action, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston compared the activity of ME-344 in sensitive and naturally resistant lung cancer cell lines. In a dose dependent manner, ME-344 caused instantaneous and pronounced inhibition of oxygen consumption rates in drug-sensitive lung cancer cells, but significantly less in drug-resistant cells. Notably, drug resistance correlated with higher glycolytic metabolism in these cells.
Using a well-characterized spontaneous breast tumor model, researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre in Madrid found that chronic treatment with the small molecule TKI nintedanib (formerly BIBF 1120) significantly diminished tumor cell glycolysis, however the growing tumor shifted to reliance on mitochondrial metabolism as its primary energy source. Subsequently, tumors primed by treatment with nintedanib showed significantly enhanced sensitivity to the mitochondrial inhibitor ME-344, with synergistic anti-tumor activity.
These findings are presented in a poster, entitled “ME-344, a novel isoflavone with activity as a mitochondrial oxygenase inhibitor,” which is available at www.meipharma.com. An abstract of the presentation can be found on the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) website at aacr.org. (Original Source)
Shares of MEI closed last Friday at $1.99 . MEIP has a 1-year high of $8.33 and a 1-year low of $1.69. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $2.57 and its 200-day moving average is $4.84.
On the ratings front, MEI has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on March 24, Wells Fargo analyst Matthew J. Andrews downgraded MEIP to Hold, with a price target of $2.13, which represents a potential upside of 6.8% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on March 23, Cowen’s Boris Peaker 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, Matthew J. Andrews and Boris Peaker have a total average return of 11.0% and 34.2% respectively. Andrews has a success rate of 42.9% and is ranked #1700 out of 3590 analysts, while Peaker has a success rate of 62.5% and is ranked #30.
In total, 2 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 2 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 $1.99 which is 95.0% above where the stock closed last Friday.
MEI Pharma Inc is an oncology company focused on the clinical development of novel therapeutics for cancer. The Company operates in two geographic segments, the United States of America and Australia.