Celsion Corporation (NASDAQ: CLSN) is having yet another incredible start to the day today. While we’re still in the pre-market hours, the stock is climbing following yesterday’s ovarian cancer data. Once again, excitement is building, causing the stock to head further upward and prompting our partners at Trade Ideas to alert us to the gains. At the moment (8:03), CLSN is trading at $3.55 per share after a gain of $0.25 per share (7.58%) thus far today. However, this could be just the tip of the iceberg as the case for a takeover builds. Today, we’ll talk about the data that was released, why there’s a strong case for a takeover, and what we’ll be watching for ahead.
CLSN Releases Positive OVATION Study Data
As mentioned above, yesterday proved to be an incredible day after Celsion Corporation released data surrounding the OVATION study. OVATION is a Phase Ib dose escalating clinical trial that was designed to evaluate Ge-1 in combination with standard of care for the treatment of newly-diagnosed patients with advanced ovarian cancer. These patients will undergo neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by surgery. Here are the key points from the study:
- Positive Responses – 14 patients were treated in the study. 2 of the 14 demonstrated a complete response with 10 demonstrating a partial response and 2 demonstrating stabilization of the disease. This means that the combination treatment CLSN is working on demonstrating a 100% disease control rate with an 86% objective response rate.
- Resection Of Tumors – All 14 patients treated in the study had successful resection of tumors. 9 of these patients had an R0 resection, indicating a microscopically margin-negative resection. This means that no gross or microscopic tumor remains in the tumor bed. This is particularly interesting because 5 out of 5 patients in the highest dose cohort experienced an R0 surgical resection.
- Pathological Response – 1 of the 14 patients involved in the CLSN study demonstrated a pathological complete response. This is important, as it is typically seen in less than 7% of patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by surgical resection.
- Protein – Finally, all 14 patients involved in the study experienced a clinically significant decrease in their CA-125 protein levels. This is a key statistic used to monitor certain cancers (including ovarian cancer) during and after treatment.
In a statement, Dr. Premal Thaker, had the following to offer with regard to the results of the CLSN study:
“The OVATION study has accrued patients from four major research cancer centers. We have seen highly promising clinical findings including a patient with a complete pathological response along with a very high rate of R0 at time of debulking surgery. The tranlational research data in the poster presentation demonstrates that GEN-1 is producing beneficial cytokines and positively impacting T-cells in the tumor… This is strong early data and we believe that GEN-1 may be stimulating the immune system to improve tumor control in these patients. I am looking forward to continuing our clinical evaluation of GEN-1 in subsequent ovarian cancer studies.”
The Case For A Buyout Is Building
When we see such strong data from an early study like this, it’s hard not to think of a potential buyout. Think about it; Celsion is a relatively young and incredibly strong company. In fact, the company has a market cap of only $13.79 million at the moment. Sure, that may seem pretty big, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s pocket change to more established companies in the oncology space.
With ovarian cancer having such a strong clinical need for a treatment like this, and the Phase Ib data being so overwhelmingly positive, there’s no doubt in my mind that competitors are eyeing CLSN. The question is whether or not these competitors will act on their desire to have such a positive treatment, considering the early phase the treatment is in. Nonetheless, with such positive data, a low market cap, and an incredible value proposition, a buyout is definitely a possibility here.
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What We’ll Be Watching For Ahead
Moving forward, the CNA Finance team will be keeping a close eye on CLSN. In particular, we’re interested in following the ongoing work with regard to the GEN-1 combination treatment. If future results are anything like what we saw from Phase Ib, well, this thing could fly in the long run. We’re also watching for a potential buyout. With the data that was released, Celsion could prove to be a disruptive force in the oncology arena. Moving in early would mean that a potential suitor could keep the competition at bay while acquiring what could prove to be an incredibly valuable asset. Nonetheless, we’ll continue to follow the story closely and bring the news to you as it breaks!
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