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Shares of Endocyte, Inc. (ECYT - Free Report) have soared more than 150% on Oct 2, after it acquired an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize ABX GmbH’s phase III-ready prostate cancer candidate 177Lu-PSMA-617.

Also, the share price increased more than 50% in pre-market trading on Oct 3. The company made an upfront payment of $12 million to ABX.

Consequently, Endocyte’s shares have outperformed the industry year to date. The stock has rallied 142.4% compared with the industry’s gain of 3.5% in the same time frame.

The deal provides Endocyte with the most advanced targeted radioligand therapeutic (RLT), which is being developed for the treatment of prostate cancer and represents a greater than $1 billion market opportunity.  

In fact, 177Lu-PSMA-617 targets the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), present in about 80% of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). The candidate has also shown high response rates in late stage prostate cancer patients in the studies presented at recent European Society for Medical Oncology.

177Lu-PSMA-617 has the potential to be the first-in-class RLT to address both bone and soft tissue disease and is a very important for patients suffering from mCRPC.

Going forward, Endocyte intends to seek regulatory approval to commence a phase III study of 177Lu-PSMA-617 in early 2018. The company expects the study to complete by 2020. Also, it plans to utilize and focus our resources on the development of 177Lu-PSMA-617.

In June 2017, Endocyte announced its plans to reduce its workforce by about 40% in order to better focus its resources on the more valuable opportunities. Interestingly, the company plans to shift its focus on its most promising programs, which include its CAR T-cell SMDC adaptor platform, the dual-targeted DNA crosslinker drug EC2629 and the cohort of taxane-exposed patients receiving EC1169.

Moreover, the company narrowed the EC1169 development program to focus only on the cohort of taxane-exposed, mCRPC patients. Further the company stopped enrollment in the EC1456 trial, where the level of clinical activity necessary to support continued advancement of this candidate was not met.

The deal seems to be lucrative for the company and should bode well for its future.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Endocyte carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Some better-ranked stocks in health care sector include Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN - Free Report) , Biogen Inc. (BIIB - Free Report) and Aduro BioTech, Inc. (ADRO - Free Report) . While Regeneron sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Biogen and Aduro carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Regeneron’s earnings per share estimates have increased from $13.84 to $14.99 for 2017 and from $15.79 to $16.65 for 2018 over the last 60 days. The company pulled off positive earnings surprises in two of the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 10.11%. The share price of the company has increased 21.8% year to date.

Biogen’s earnings per share estimates have moved up $21.37 to $21.42 for 2017 and from $23.11 to $23.23 for 2018 over the last 60 days. The company delivered positive earnings surprises in all the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 6.41%. The share price of the company has increased 11.8% year to date.

Aduro’s loss estimates per share have narrowed from $1.36 to $1.29 for 2017 over last 60 days. The company came up with positive earnings surprises in two of the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 2.53%.

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