ITUS Corporation (NASDAQ: ITUS) is headed up in the pre-market this morning, and for good reason. The company announced that it has selected its first commercial focus for its Cchek™ liquid biopsy platform. Of course, the news is exciting investors, sending the stock on a run for the top. Today, we’ll talk about:
- The first commercial focus;
- what we’re seeing from ITUS as a result of the selection; and
- what we’ll be watching for with regard to the stock ahead.
ITUS Announces First Commercial Focus For Cchek™
As mentioned above, ITUS Corporation is having a strong start to the trading session this morning after the company announced that it has chosen its first commercial focus for Cchek™. In a press release issued this morning, the company announced that prostate cancer will be the first commercial focus of the non-invasive liquid biopsy cancer detection platform.
In the release, the company said that while testing of additional cancers continue, it is well positioned to choose prostate cancer as its initial tumor type for its first commercial aim. While the Cchek™ technology has shown the ability to identify twenty different cancer types through a simple blood test, the company assessed various factors including scientific, clinical and commercial considerations when it came to choosing prostate cancer.
From the scientific standpoint, ITUS said that recent studies with prostate cancer demonstrate incredible sensitivity and specificity. In fact, in a recent study with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and Serametrix Corporation, the Cchek™ liquid biopsy achived 92 sensitivity and 92% specificity using 121 prostate cancer and 125 healthy donor samples. The artificial intelligence associated with Cchek™ was trained on 85 late-stage, biopsy verified, prostate cancer samples and 88 healthy donor samples. After training, the system was provided with 73 additional samples. This time, they were unlabled (blinded). ITUS was able to correctly identify 33 of 36 prostate cancer samples and 34 of 37 healthy donor samples.
ITUS also considered the clinical implications of their choice. At the end of the day, prostate specific antigen, or PSA testing is currently the primary method of screening for prostate cancer. Unfortunately however, this screening is known to produce large numbers of false results. This leads to a large percentage of prostate biopsies, successive to high PSA scores, coming back with negative results. With such a strong specificity and sensitivity to prostate cancer, ITUS believes that the indication represents a strong opportunity to improve outcomes for patients while generating revenue.
Finally, looking at the opportunity from a commercial side, Cchek™ is fast and relatively inexpensive. Not to mention that it has been proven to be a better way of detecting prostate cancer than the current, widely accepted, PSA testing. As a result, it may quickly generate strong commercial demand. In a statement, Dr. Amit Kumar, CEO at ITUS, had the following to offer:
While we have chosen prostate for our first commercial effort, we will continue to test other tumor types as they come in from our collaborators. However, our goal is to create a bolus of data on prostate cancer with which we can engage in discussions with regulators. A key component of this data package is going to be how well Cchek™ is able to classify benign conditions like benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is the most common inflammatory disease of the prostate, and while it is a disease of the prostate gland, it is not a malignancy requiring a biopsy. We hope our results with benign conditions are as good as our results with cancer… It’s important to highlight that there has been a lot of press around recent studies of liquid biopsies for early cancer detection. I want to note that our studies have shown comparable and often better data, even though our sample size is small. I also want to note that most other studies have not considered benign conditions.
What We’re Seeing From The Stock
One of the first lessons that we learn when we start to dig into the market is that the news causes moves. In the case of ITUS, the news proved to be overwhelmingly positive. With prostate cancer screenings being the first commercial focus for the Cchek™ liquid biopsy, the company is close to what could be a strong revenue generator. So, it’s no surprise that excited investors are sending the stock toward the top. Currently (8:35), ITUS is tradinga t $3.43 per share after a gain of $0.17 per share or 5.21% thus far today.
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What We’ll Be Watching For Ahead
Moving forward, the CNA Finance team will continue to keep a close eye on ITUS. In particular, we’re interested in following the story surrounding the company’s focus on prostate cancer and excited to see the commercial ramp that seems to be just around the corner. Nonetheless, we’ll continue to follow the story closely and bring the news to you as it breaks!
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