TORONTO, ON / ACCESSWIRE / [April 23rd, 2019] / The Wealthy Venture Capitalist (or ”WVC”), an investment newsletter focused on showing everyday investors new opportunities in rapidly growing, little-known biotech and pharma stocks making news and subsequent market moves, would like to update investors on several new advancements in cancer therapies.
Cancer has been called the emperor of all maladies. So it follows that such a powerful ruler faces attempts to dethrone it nearly constantly. Nevertheless, some plans of attack are doomed to fail. Biotech pipelines are running dry and looking for new drug candidates, and doctors are looking for additional tools in their clinical toolbox. Of course, patients and their families are in the most dire need of success, and when a treatment is effective, stock investors benefit from the rising tide.
The need for advances in cancer is constant. When clinical trials fail, they result in millions of dollars in losses, layoffs, and even sacked executives. It’s not easy business. In February 2018, top researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that out of a sample of 406,038 entries of clinical trial data for more than 21,143 compounds from January 1, 2000 to October 31, 2015, the lowest success rate came from oncology trials, at just 3.4%. Yikes.
Risk and Reward in Novel Cancer Treatment
Large companies and small ones understand that venturing into oncology means uncertainty. To mitigate the risk and build on success, small companies and large ones are teaming up to test combination therapies that leverage existing drugs and aim to open new indications.
Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ: INCY), which focuses on oncology drugs, failed a combination study with Keytruda from Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK). Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) has a late stage clinical trial pipeline that’s heavy on cancer, especially six trials with the drug Bavencio, and one failure has already hit. Advaxis (NASDAQ: ADXS) ended its trial of a combination treatment paired with the immunotherapy drug Imfinzi from AstraZeneca Plc (NYSE: AZN; LON: AZN). Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: MACK) had to can its novel drug MM-310 after it caused grade 3 nerve damage in the hands and feet. So stumbling blocks abound, but companies with established treatments do quite well–the top four cancer drugs rack up north of $25 billion in yearly sales.
A Worthwhile Challenge
Far from shying away from the challenge, scientists are tackling the toughest cancers, including brain cancer, or glioblastoma–diving into the function of brain cancer cells helps them find new targets for drugs. And that’s not limited to new drugs: researchers and companies are happy to leverage existing small molecules to go after a newly identified rogue gene or cell type. Consider some recent approaches to cancer and you’ll see the point.
Cancer stem cells are super important to the growth of the disease, and the genes in those cells control the computer program of cancer, so to speak. What switches are turned off and on in those genes can determine the location, aggressiveness, and spread of cancer, as well as tumor size and other key variables. Scientists are working hard to isolate and understand the key genes that help cancer survive, and to do this they’re combining of basic research that maps the way cancer builds and moves with knowledge of existing drugs and compounds that target cancer’s activity.
Propanc Biopharma Inc. (OTCBB: PPCB) is one company that is forging ahead with a fundamental approach to cancer, targeting cancer stem cells by using proenzyme cancer therapy. Propanc focuses on pancreatic, ovarian and colorectal cancers with an approach that was first developed a century ago but has come into new focus as a point of clinical interest. Propanc aims to short-circuit cell-to-cell communication to halt the spread of cancer.
Cellectis SA (NASDAQ: CLLS) is doing interesting things with cells too, working to flip the script on CAR T-cell therapies as the company innovates to fight blood cancers. Cellectis is opting for a new approach, not using a patient’s own cells as has traditionally been done with that therapy type. Instead, the trials about to begin will use healthy donor cells that are injected after being modified to fight tumors. As larger pharma companies seek to broaden their options and get in on new and promising technology to augment their homegrown discoveries, keep an eye on smaller players to see what obstacles they clear on the way to establishing novel drugs that can shake things up.
The Wealthy Venture Capitalist is a series of industry-focused investment articles focused on showing everyday Investors new opportunities in rapidly growing, little-known stocks in 4 of the markets hottest sectors.
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Article by Sam H.