Xencor Presents Positive Data For XmAb Antibodies Program Against Cancer

Xencor presented new data from multiple preclinical studies for XmAb bispecific antibody and its preclinical IL-12-Fc cytokine program at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting.

Xencor’s (XNCR) IL-12-Fc cytokine program is based on the clinical-stage biopharma company’s earlier work with IL-15-Fc cytokines in oncology, where the reduction in potency led to improved pharmacodynamics (PD) , pharmacokinetics (PK) and tolerability in preclinical studies.

Xencor’s John Desjarlais, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief scientific officer said, “Xencor’s XmAb bispecific Fc domains enable the rapid design and simplified development of Fc-containing protein structures and are being used to create new platforms, a wide range of multi-specific antibodies and engineered cytokines.”

“In 2021, we anticipate submitting an IND [investigational new drug] for XmAb819, our lead XmAb 2+1 CD3 bispecific antibody targeting ENPP3, and initiating a Phase 1 study in early 2022. We are also advancing through preclinical development our wholly owned lead CD28 candidate, a B7-H3 x CD28 bispecific antibody designed to be evaluated for the treatment of patients with a range of solid tumors,” Desjarlais added.

L-12 is a protein that stimulates the immune system and is produced by activated antigen-presenting cells leading to a rise in T cells and natural killer (NK) cells and an increase in cytotoxicity through high levels of interferon-gamma signaling.

The lesser potency in the IL-12-Fc preclinical study indicated “significant anti-tumor activity in vivo [inside the body] concurrent with activation and proliferation of CD8+ T cells and increased levels of interferon gamma in serum.”

The company’s PD-L1 x CD28 bispecific antibodies stimulate T-cells, a type of immune cells in the body and activate them when bound to tumor cells. PD-L1 is a protein that is expressed on different kinds of tumors and suppresses responses by the immune system against the tumor. (See Xencor Inc stock analysis on TipRanks)

Following the preclinical data presentation, Mizuho Securities analyst Mara Goldstein reiterated a Buy with a price target of $57 on the stock. Goldstein said, “The presentations highlight the broad utility of XNCR’s XmAb antibody engineering platform for exploring novel mechanisms and paradigms in cancer immunotherapy. “

“XNCR is advancing candidates in clinical trials, and we see the transition to a broader therapeutic-driven valuation as evolving with data. Ultimately new candidates that demonstrate the breadth of the company’s technology could offer additional optionality that drives value expansion,” Goldstein added.

Overall, the rest of the Street is cautiously optimistic on the stock with a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 5 Buys and 1 Sell. The average analyst price target of $53 implies that XNCR shares have approximately 34.2% upside potential to current levels.

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