Help Ahead: Ovarian Cancer Trials

Merck‘s new partnering of Immunovaccine for battling ovarian cancer looks to be a clinical peg for this Halifax, Canada, laboratory. *
Immunovaccine, its investor shares activated by news of a 42-patient Canada trial, has a novel way of delivering DPX-Survivac peptides. The peptides come along with checkpoint inhibitors owned by large pharma-cos such as Merck and Incyte.

 

Immunovaccine Uses Oil
Immunovaccine Uses Oil To Inject Combined Therapies

Trial partnership: Merck’s well known anti PD-1 already works in about 10 percent of women with ovarian cancer. The biomedical hope hare is that a combination of anti-PD-1 (the PD-1 part: a protein known as programmed cell-death receptor-1) and IMV’s vaccine will increase survival percentages, increase safety levels and perhaps decrease treatment costs for consumers and insurance companies.

Enrollment in the new Merck-IMV trial will take place in coming weeks at Princess Margaret Cancer Treatment Centre.

A well known and published ovarian cancer specialist, Amit Oza, is named as lead investigator.

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  • Just added — Abitibi Royalties To See Growing Interest For Quebec Portfolio Of Properties (Below)

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The race for laboratories offering immunological solutions to cancer is to activate more of the killer T-cells that humans need to battle and bonk cancers. Immunovacine’s DPX-Survivac, essentially peptide antigens in a special delivery package, theoretically guides the body’s immune system to recognize deadly cancer cells and kill those cells, the same cancer cells that anti-PD-1 protects.

Immunological science is perplexing. The idea is that a drug combo delivered in effective or targeted fashion can deal a more effective death blow than naturally occurring cell-death receptors.

* A finely done examination of the Merck partnership and Immunovaccine science is out from Echelon Wealth Partners. Doug Loe, a PhD and MBA, examines how DPX-Survivac could find its way into oncological research conducted for Astra-Zeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche Labs. Dr. Loe also discusses a possible data trigger from looming human trial results that combined DPX-Survivac and an Incyte compound: 40 patients autumn 2016. Data from Incyte-IMV will see publication in March 2017. Anything that shows stunted tumor growth that surpasses one in 10 patients in fast-acting advanced ovarian cancer is better than anything already available to treat the disease.


“We do not know if Merck has grander aspirations for DPX-based vaccines within its Keytruda-based cancer immunotherapy franchise, but still, we are encouraged that the study is being funded by Merck,” the analyst writes for Echelon, a private bank that serves rich clients in Canada and in the city of Tokyo.
Frederic Ors, a French bio-businessman and Canada resident who runs Immunovaccine, tells me ovarian cancer is among the most challenging to treat. Survival rates are low and length of survival is 18 or fewer months. It is for women mostly a death sentence.
Merck’s so-called miracle compound, its anti-PD1 pembrolizumab, is an approved drug for melanomas and for a type of lung cancer. The Merck partnership effect this week is spreading some medical and investment attention as IMV shares look to challenge a years-gone all-time high. The shares are IMV in Canada and IMMVF in USA.

 

Merck via a Toronto hospital will pay all costs for further combination trials that can last as long as 5 years. Considerable clinical data will surface before the close of 2017. Here is a straight governmental agency description of the planned Phase II human trials for Merck-IMV.

 

If the IMV-Merck combination halts ovarian (and-or fallopian tube) tumor growth in more than 10 percent of the patients — say 20 percent, we will see further human trials at the Toronto hospital. The trials location when they begin is on University Avenue — Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

 

For folks suffering from advanced ovarian cancer, next steps in the event looming Phase II human trials see safe and halted tumor growth will be the measurement of reduction in tumor growth, length of the immunological benefits of the combo, and in a figurative sense, quality of life for these women.

 

 

This is the IMV notice of the Merck partnership.

I note for investment purposes that our TCR Network probably is on the right track as it monitors another compound partnership — the Incyte one with Immunovaccine. 
 
That mid-sized pharma-co is blending its so-called IDO inhibitor with IMV’s “vaccine.” Patients in that early stage trial held in September 2016 will see data published or postered or disseminated in March of this year. Promising tumor-stoppage rates there will spark business-class flights by Incyte, Merck and I imagine biz-development teams from other (cancer treatment) drug developers to Halifax
 
Human trials have much higher safety “proofs” than the animal ones that precede them. Immunovaccine’s 8-person laboratory staff, started by scientist Marc Mansour, who was CEO for a spell and sits on the board of directors, tends to believe DPX (DepoVax delivery with oil through a vein) — Survivac could deserve testing for the treatment of 20 other cancer growths in humans.  

Those looking for good science and humanitarian relief for advanced ovarian cancer sufferers will find some reasons to read the latest from IMV and Merck. 
IMV notice of the Merck partnership.
Those looking for further investment opportunity will do well to read medical investment journals and trade-pubs that describe the value and frequency of licensing deals for new compounds and combination therapies that fight ovarian and other cancers. Safely, economically and with vastly improved success rates, theoretically.
Such licenses for cancer therapies tend to start negotiations around $300 million USD. That is $300 million and sometimes twice that much to the small-fry developer.
There are also (in later stages of success) for small labs in this area: chances of a change of control; that is, an entire purchase of the discovery lab by a large-pharma such as Merck ($130 billion USD market value) or Incyte ($33 billion) or Bristol-Myers Squibb or Roche or … .tcr1
For TCR Network members who have been into IMV and have been reading our proprietary reports on the small company since June 2015, please note: I own 142,000 shares of IMV and will be adding 12,000 shares today (Monday February 6, 2017). Immunovaccine coverage online (thomcalandra.com) and offline (proprietary) for our TCR Network now amounts to approximately 25,000 words during a span of 21 months.
Competitors in the area of T-cell activation include wanna-bes Advaxis and Agenus and two or three others. All are at market values of three to six times IMV’s $75 million USD level. Some of these competitors are flag-waving in their marketing to investors. I believe Immunovaccine is staid in that sense.
Executives, directors and other insiders and large shareholders whom I know have been reporting purchases of IMV this year and last year.
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Biomedical: Shares of Cellceutix (CTIX), featured here several times in the past 6 months, seem to be overcoming assertions of sloppy data postering and other promotional practices. I own shares of the Massachusetts company with several clinical irons in the fire — including for a gastrointestinal ailment. A “best friend” who is a medical doctor in Boston consults for CTIX on the CTIX gastrointestinal trials conducted in Europe.

Just ahead: what could be fresh drill assays that double the size of likely economic gold from Abitibi Royalties’ royalty-producing Odyssey Zone, adjacent to Agnico-Eagle and Yamana Gold’s Canadian Malartic mine and mill in Quebec. The Odyssey zones are just a tad east of Canada’s largest gold mine and mill’s main open pit.

Geologists in Quebec say Odyssey alone could add as much as 10,000 metric tons daily to the mill. Abitibi Royalties’ 3 percent net smelter return on that zone alone will spark a bidding war for RZZ if assays show 2 gram-gold (per metric ton) and a possibility of 3 million or more ounces. Possible bidders: Osisko Royalties, Yamana, Agnico-Eagle, Franco Nevada, Sandstorm, others. I expect fiscal drama coupled with the Odyssey Zone assays.
RZZ is Abitibi and GZZ is 50 percent (higher with board member’s ownership) RZZ owner Golden Valley Mines (GZZ in Canada). This time — remember Canadian Royalties of Val d’Or some six years ago in that China-inspired takeover? — this time there will be no change of control of RZZ or GZZ at engineered and hostile discounts to market, I think.

 


— Thom Calandra 
(None of these companies pays me — not a one.)
 

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