Immutep (NASDAQ:IMMP) stock is soaring higher in Thursday’s pre-market after the biotech said it received a patent from European regulators for one of its antibodies used as a combination therapy. IMMP stock is poised to reach a year-to-date high on the news.
The patent covers LAG525, a humanized form of Immutep’s IMP701 antibody which is out-licensed to Novartis (NYSE:NVS), one of several Big Pharma partners the smaller Australian firm is working with to develop therapies. Within Immutep’s development pipeline, it is working with Novartis on five cancer therapies, sharing ownership with that firm on most of the patents.
Rights to the development and commercialization of IMP701 are exclusively licensed to Novartis. The Swiss drug maker has full responsibility for the continued development of the LAG-3 antibody program and Immutep is eligible to receive development-based milestone payments and sales-based royalties. Its most recent payment was $1 million in August 2017, according to a February 2021 company presentation.
Latest Boost to IMMP Stock on Collaboration News
This is the second time in recent weeks that IMMP stock has popped in news related to its collaborations. The developer’s partner on another antibody therapy, Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) on March 25 announced primary results from a Phase 2/3 study investigating the effectiveness a treatment for patients with previously untreated metastatic or unresectable melanoma.
It was also the second announcement today from Immutep. The company said separately that it had achieved fast-track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its lead product candidate eftilagimod alpha (“EFTI” or“IMP321”), a soluble LAG-3 protein under study for recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer.
That treatment is being paired with Keytruda, a leading treatment developed by IMMP partner Merck (NYSE:MRK). In IMMP’s February presentation to investors, management described EFTI as a “potential pipeline in a product,” as it was not limited to a select number of oncology indications or treatment lines. Its safety profile enables it to be used in a variety of combinations.
On the date of publication, Robert Lakin did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
InvestorPlace contributor Robert Lakin is a veteran financial writer and editor, following fintech, agtech and property tech startups.