IMUC: Initiation With An Outperform Rating
Grant Zeng, CFA
IMUC: At the forefront of targeting cancer stem cells – initiation with an Outperform rating
We are initiating coverage of ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (IMUC) with an Outperform rating. Our six to twelve-month price target is $7.00.
ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (IMUC) is a clinical stage biotech company focused on the research and development of innovative cancer therapeutics. The Company is at the forefront of targeting cancer stem cells, the root cause of cancer and cancer recurrence. The Company holds two proprietary drug development platform technologies: active immunotherapy and monoclonal antibody technology. Both technologies target specific cancer antigens and cancer stem cells.
The Company’s lead drug candidate is ICT-107, a personalized, dendritic cell-based vaccine for the treatment of glioblastoma. ICT-107 has demonstrated compelling efficacy data and safety profile in finished Phase I studies in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. The Company just initiated a Phase II trial, and enrollment is expected to complete in 12 months.
There is an unmet medical need for the treatment of glioblastoma. Relapse of glioblastoma is attributed to the recurrence and persistence of cancer stem cells. IMUC’s ICT-107 specifically targets cancer stem cells of glioblastoma, which may be an ultimate solution to treat glioblastoma more efficaciously with fewer side effects.
ICT-107 works the same way as Dendreon’s Provenge does, but has advantages over the first-in-class cancer vaccine approved by the FDA in terms of manufacturing convenience, easy logistics, potential less side effects, cost advantages and much larger addressable markets.
The glioblastoma market is a multibillion dollar business. If ICT-107 ultimately reaches the market, it will command a huge market share of the GBM market due to its outstanding efficacy data and safety profile. This means a lot to a small biotech company like IMUC even with a few hundred million dollars in sales. With the Phase II trial underway, IMUC is one step closer to achieve its long term goal.
The market potential is even greater if we consider that ICT-107 can also target other cancer indications, such as melanoma, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. If IMUC only develops ICT-107 for ovarian and GBM to be conservative, the potential market size for those two indications is huge.
In addition to ICT-107, the Company’s active immunotherapy technology also includes ICT-121, an off-the-shelf peptide cancer vaccine for glioblastoma and other cancer indications. Also on the pipeline are a series of monoclonal antibodies targeting specific cancer antigens/cancer stem cells. In spite of preclinical development, these candidates ensure sustainable growth of the Company in the long term.
IMUC is heading in the right direction and poised to deliver shareholder value.
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