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Aduro Stock Crashes After ASCO Updates on Cancer Candidate

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Aduro Biotech, Inc. and its partner Novartis NVS presented data from the ongoing phase Ib data evaluating a combination of Aduro’s lead candidate, ADU-S100 and Novartis’ PD-1 inhibitor, spartalizumab, in patients with advanced solid tumors or lymphomas. Data were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (“ASCO”).

However, investors seemed far from being impressed and the company’s shares crashed 40.3% on Jun 3. Aduro’s shares are down 26.5% so far this year compared with the industry’s decline of 0.8%.

The phase Ib study is a dose-escalation clinical study evaluating once weekly or once-monthly 50 – 1,600 µg dose of ADU-S100 in combination with a fixed dose of 400 mg of spartalizumab once monthly. The company presented data from 83 enrolled patients, with 53 and 30 patients in the weekly group and monthly group, respectively.

Data showed that five patients out of eight patients in the weekly arm achieved confirmed responses, which included one complete response and two partial responses in anti-PD-1-naïve patients with triple-negative breast cancer (“TNBC”). The remaining two patients achieving partial response have melanoma and were previously treated with an immunotherapy.

Moreover, 12 patients achieved stable disease with eight of them receiving prior treatment with immunotherapy.  In the monthly arm, six patients achieved stable disease with five of them having received prior immunotherapy treatment.

The Investors were underwhelmed with response rates which led to plunge in share prices. Moreover, these are early data and more mature data is required for a clear future development path. Based on presented data, some investors also believe that the study may require additional time for completion.

Aduro is focused on developing its STING agonist, ADU-S100, in combination with checkpoint inhibitor therapy as treatment for several cancer indications. Meanwhile, the company is currently enrolling patients in an early-stage study evaluating ADU-S100 in combination with Bristol-Myers’ BMY Yervoy (ipilimumab) in relapsed/refractory melanoma. Another study to evaluate ADU-S100 in combination with Merck’s MRK Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in first-line head and neck cancer is expected to start in the second half of 2019.

Zacks Rank

Aduro currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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