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Immutep (IMMP) Up on Initial Data From Lung Cancer Study

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Immutep Limited’s (IMMP - Free Report) shares surged 6.5% on May 24, after it announced encouraging data from a third arm of the phase I INSIGHT study called INSIGHT-003. The study is being evaluated in the combination use of its lead pipeline candidate, eftilagimod alpha (“efti”), in the first-line (“1L”) non-small cell lung cancer (“NSCLC”).

INSIGHT-003 is a triple combination study of efti, Merck’s (MRK - Free Report) blockbuster anti-PD-1 therapy Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and chemotherapy. It is being conducted by the Frankfurt Institute of Clinical Cancer Research.

The initial data from the study showed that the triple combination was well tolerated with promising efficacy signals.

Among the 21 patients enrolled, there was an overall response rate of 67% and a disease control rate of 91% in advanced or metastatic non-squamous 1L NSCLC. Additionally, 81% of the patients had low PD-L1 expression, indicating a reduced response to anti-PD-1 therapy.

The overall response rateand response rate was 67% and 65%, respectively, in patients with low PD-L1 expression. This demonstrated favorable results compared to a previous study using anti-PD-1 therapy and double chemotherapy in the same patient population.

Patient enrollment for the INSIGHT-003 trial has recently been increased to 50 from 20 across multiple sites. Further data from the same are expected in the second half of 2023.

A substantial portion of NSCLC patients have low or negative PD-L1 expression, which makes them less responsive to anti-PD-1 therapy.

Unlike many other immuno-oncology combinations that focus on high PD-L1 expressing patients, the results from the INSIGHT-003 study suggest that efti may be uniquely positioned to effectively address both low and high PD-L1 expressors. The candidate will do so through chemo-free immunotherapy combinations, potentially benefiting the entire NSCLC patient population.

So far this year, shares of Immutep have rallied 40% against the industry’s 7.5% decline.

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Merck’s Keytruda is already approved for the treatment of many cancers globally. Keytruda sales are gaining from continued strong momentum in metastatic indications, including some types of NSCLC, renal cell carcinoma, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cancers, and a rapid uptake across recent earlier-stage launches.

The drug is continuously growing and expanding into new indications and markets globally. In first-quarter 2023, Merck recorded $5.8 billion from Keytruda product sales.

Prima BioMed Ltd Price and Consensus


Prima BioMed Ltd Price and Consensus

Prima BioMed Ltd price-consensus-chart | Prima BioMed Ltd Quote


Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider

Currently, Immutep carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A couple of better-ranked stocks in the same sector are ADMA Biologics (ADMA - Free Report) andAllogene Therapeutics (ALLO - Free Report) , both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Loss per estimates for ADMA have narrowed from 19 cents to 9 cents for 2023 in the past 60 days. Shares of ADMA have risen 3.9% in the year-to-date period.

ADMA Biologics’ earnings beat estimates in three of the trailing four quarters and met the mark in one, delivering an average surprise of 19.3%. 

Loss per share estimates for Allogene have narrowed from $2.45 to $2.31 for 2023 and from $2.48 to $2.21 for 2024 in the past 60 days. Shares of ALLO have plunged 9.6% in the year-to-date period. 

Allogene’s earnings beat estimates in three of the last four quarters and missed the mark in one, the average surprise being 5.08%.

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