Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN)

Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN) Tanks As AstraZeneca plc. (ADR)(NYSE:AZN) Posts Disappointing Trial Results

Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN)

Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN) tumbled 14.83% in Thursday’s trading session to end the day at $4.48 a share. The plunge came after AstraZeneca plc. (ADR)(NYSE:AZN) reported disappointing trial results of its immuno-oncology drug. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) shares also dropped on the news.

Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN)
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Checkpoint Inhibitor Disappointment

AstraZeneca’s Mystic trial missed its primary endpoints and raised concerns about the progress of similar projects under development by Agenus and Bristol Myers. The three companies are in the process of exploring ways to make the body’s checkpoint inhibitors activate.

Combining checkpoint inhibitors with other anti-cancer agents was seen as one method to trigger the inhibitors. However, the outcome of AstraZeneca trial means the companies may have to explore other avenues if they are to produce progress in triggering immune response against various cancers.

The drop of Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN) shares came on the heels of investor skepticism about its own trials succeeding in the wake of AstraZeneca’s disappointment.

Agenus Checkpoint Inhibitor Portfolio

Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN) is a clinical stage immuno-oncology company. The company specializes in the development of therapies to improve the patient’s own immune systems in order to combat cancer. The company has a pipeline of immune checkpoint antibodies and cancer vaccines.

Agenus’ portfolio is made up of anti-cancer targets such as PD-1 that is in Phase 1 trial for solid tumors in addition to CTLA-4, OX40, and GITR. The company has recently reiterated plans to bring anti-cancer agents to market by 2020 for undisclosed indications. Taking AstraZeneca’s Mystic trial outcome into consideration, the company might be challenged to meet its timeline.

However, the outcome of the AstraZeneca NSCLC trial has not sealed Agenus’ fate as it continues to pursue opportunities in the checkpoint inhibitor market. The company has already signed deals with the likes of Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY) and Merck.

Initial estimates indicate that the two deals could produce in the upward of $610 million in milestone payments. The fact that Incyte has become Agenus largest shareholder also provides a layer of protection as the company moves to take on Merck in the checkpoint inhibitor game.

Separately, Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN) will release its second quarter earnings before the market opens on August 3, 2017.

I have no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, and have no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. All information, including any data, is provided without any guarantees of accuracy.

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About the author: Monica has an undergraduate degree in Accounting and an MBA she earned – with Honors. She has six years of experience in the financial markets and has been an analyst for the past two years.