Vaccinex Inc [NASDAQ: VCNX] is one of the more exciting stocks to watch this week. There is increased confidence that upcoming good news could see it close the gap from a few weeks ago, and possibly retest $6. The stock had gapped down after it announced disappointing results from its trial treatment candidate for people with Huntington’s disease. The company announced that top line data from the phase 2 double blind study showed that it did not meet the expected primary endpoints. While this may have created panic selling, the company had a separate announcement that has the potential to drive up the stock price long term.
Vaccinex Inc announced that it had entered into a clinical partnership with Merck for the development of a new way to treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases by inhibiting SEMA4D. Vaccinex intends to combine its investigational Pepitnemab inhibitor with the anti-PD-1 therapy by Merck called Keytruda. The goal is to use it in the treatment of advanced and recurrent metastatic head and neck cancer. Vaccinex’s Pepitnemab is a form of monoclonal antibody that blocks semaphoring 4D activity, an extracellular signaling molecule that controls the function of inflammatory and immune cells. The good news is that when analyzed in pre-clinical studies it has shown that its activities promote immune cell entry into tumors and help avoid the damage to neurons and the resultant neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington disease.
Through the partnership, Vaccinex announced that it would carry out a dose escalation study that will see the company enroll about 65 patients suffering from HNSCC patients. One of the key goals of the study will be to understand whether the combination of these therapies can lead to an improvement in population response to the treatment. Key among the studies end goals are survival rates and rate of progression.
Commenting on the deal, Vaccinex CEO Maurice Zauderer stated that his company was happy to test the potential benefit of Pepitnemab when used in combination with Keytruda. He added that a number of previous studies have shown that inhibiting SEMA4D pushed up the immune infiltration and that it changed the cytotoxic and immunosuppressive cell balance inside a tumor. He added that the collaboration between the two firms would create an opportunity to check the innovativeness in the combined therapy.
As optimism builds around this therapy, the stock could see an increase in market optimism and close the gap.
About Vaccinex Inc
Vaccinex Inc is a biotech company that develops treatments for unmet needs. It is based in Rochester, New York.