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Amgen's KRAS Inhibitor Shows Impressive Anti-Tumor Activity

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Amgen, Inc. (AMGN - Free Report) announced encouraging early data from a study evaluating its novel investigational KRAS inhibitor for solid tumor, AMG 510, at the annual meeting of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

In the phase I study, AMG 510, when given as a monotherapy, showed encouraging anti-tumor activity in patients with locally-advanced or metastatic KRASG12C mutant solid tumors

The study enrolled 35 patients at multiple ascending dose levels. The primary treated tumor types were non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and colorectal cancer (CRC), which have the highest incidence of KRAS G12C mutations. KRASG12C accounts for approximately 13% of NSCLC and 3-%-5% of CRC cases.

In the NSCLC cohort, five out of 10 heavily pre-treated patients experienced a partial response (PR), which means at least a 50% reduction in tumor size. Another four had stable disease (SD), which means the tumor is neither growing nor shrinking. In the CRC cohort, 13 of 18 evaluable patients achieved SD. Overall, AMG510 was found to be safe and well tolerated.

Amgen’s shares were up 3.4% in response to the positive news. However, so far this year, Amgen shares have declined 11.5% compared with 2% decrease registered by the industry during this period.

 

 

KRAS gene has been a target of active exploration in cancer research and is particularly common in solid tumors. Merck believes that AMG 510 has the potential to be developed into a successful targeted therapy to treat patients with the KRASG12C mutation due to its high selectivity for this mutation.

AMG510 enjoys orphan drugs status from the FDA for KRASG12C-positive NSCLC and colorectal cancers.

Another company, Mirati Therapeutics Inc (MRTX - Free Report) also has a candidate, MRTX849, which targets the KRAS G12C mutation. Mirati’s shares were up almost 32% on Monday after Amgen’s promising initial data on its KRAS G12C inhibitor.

Amgen currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Some other top-ranked large drug stocks include Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY - Free Report) and Roche (RHHBY - Free Report) . While Bristol-Myers sports a Zacks Rank #1, Roche has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Bristol-Myers’ earnings estimates increased 5.2% for 2020 over the last 60 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in all the trailing four quarters, with the average being 11.85%.

Roche’s earnings estimates increased 2.1% for 2019 and 1.3% for 2020 over the last 60 days. The company’s shares have increased 9.4% this year so far.

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