Lexicon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LXRX)
On August 3, 2015 shares of Lexicon Pharmaceuticals were up 61% after the company posted positive phase 3 Results in Patients with Carcinoid Syndrome. Carcinoid Syndrome occurs when a carcinoid tumor advances to a later stage. Typically this disease targets the lining of the lungs or stomach of the patient and has some serious effect on the body. For instance the tumor leaks chemicals into the patient’s bloodstream causing a variety of symptoms.
The drug used to treat these patients with Carcinoid Syndrome is known as telotristat etiprate. The key thing to notice here though is that these patients recruited in the trial for Carcinoid Syndrome had already been treated with standard of care unsuccessfully.
Patients in the study were either given 250 mg or 500 mg of telotristat etiprate together with standard of care. These drug combinations were tested against standard of care alone to determine if they could achieve greater efficacy for these patients. The trial posted positive phase 3 results for the drug combinations over standard of care alone.
Lexicon will announce the full detailed results from this phase 3 trial at an upcoming scientific conference. These additional results will come from the current study, known as the Telestar study. Lexicon had co-developed this drug with a French Pharmaceutical company known as Ipsen SA (EPA:IPN) which has the right to sell this drug outside the U.S. and Japan. If telotristat etiprate is approved by the FDA for Carcinoid Syndrome it will be the first drug to be approved by the FDA for this indication in over 16 years.
Biocept Inc. (NASDAQ:BIOC)
On August 5, 2015 Biocept announced the launch of its new liquid biopsy diagnostic test for colorectal cancer. The company uses a variety of liquid biopsies for early detection of many types of cancers. The hope for the company is to achieve the ability to detect cancer at earlier stages which in turn would allow patients to have a greater shot at success with current treatments.
More specifically the test Biocept launched is known as the quantitative Target Selector Assay that specifically targets KRAS mutations using the patient’s own blood sample. Using Biocept’s liquid biopsy technology has some great advantages which are:
- Determining whether or not the cancer has advanced to later stages
- Determining if the patient responds to the current cancer treatment being given to them
- Determining whether or not a patient would benefit from a cancer therapy treatment with a targeted approach instead of an open ended type of an approach
This test is great but keep in mind that it has been made to specifically target KRAS mutations which are found only up to 40% of colorectal cancer patients. But this KRAS mutation has been known to be found in other types of cancers as well such as: pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, and many other solid tumor cancers.
The KRAS mutation is quite a heavy hitting cancer mutation because it has known to be resistant to many types of therapies. It has especially been resistant to anti-EFGR monoclonal antibody therapies developed by a couple of big pharmaceutical companies.
Such drugs that the KRAS mutation is resistant to is Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) Erbitux, and Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) Vectibix. Therefore it is a good thing to have Biocept’s liquid biopsy technology so that patients can avoid having to go through a treatment option that would otherwise prove to be unsuccessful.
Aquinox Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AQXP)
On August 6, 2015 Aquinox Pharmaceuticals announced financial results and positive phase 2 trial results. These positive phase 2 results came from the trial known as the “LEADERSHIP” trial that treated patients with bladder pain syndrome/interstitial Cystitis. The primary endpoint showed that the drug was able to reduce pain for these patients with this disease.
More importantly the drug met on many statistically significant secondary endpoints for these patients. Dr. David Main now insists that the company will have to meet with regulatory authorities to conduct a pivotal phase 3 trial that will be used for eventual approval.
It seems like the stock has a low float because the very next day after the after-hours announcement on Thursday shares of Aquinox surged 485% on Friday August 7, 2015. What’s even more intriguing is that the stock soared again on Monday August 10, 2015 hitting as high as 1000% with a high of $55.75 per share before retreating back down to close the day up only 81%.
The high move came because of the results but it seems that there were other factors that contributed to it. For instance there were a lot of wall street analysts upgrading the share price of the stock which probably culminated a huge boom of day traders entering the stock. In addition Baker Bros., a big hedge fund that buys pharmaceutical companies, had recently announced an increased stake of 40% in the company.
The fact that a high percentage of shares are held by one entity could have been another reason for the big boom. We believe though that investors should trade cautiously over the next few days as day traders may take profits with their stops in place or short sellers looking for a good short opportunity. Although if you are long-term it wouldn’t matter anyways as the future looks quite bright for this company’s drug that treats bladder pain.