Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
) recently announced the presentation of encouraging phase I data
on its oncology candidate, ISIS-STAT3Rx, at the American Society
of Clinical Oncology.
ISIS-STAT3Rx is being developed in collaboration with
). Results from the open-label, dose-escalation study sahowed
that treatment with ISIS-STAT3Rx helped achieve partial responses
that were durable and prolonged in two out of three diffuse large
B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients who were refractory to earlier
The study was conducted in 15 patients with advanced solid
tumors and lymphoma who had relapsed or were not responding to
several chemotherapy regimens. Isis Pharma reported that a
patient who had previously failed ten different chemotherapy
regimens experienced a 50% reduction in tumor burden - partial
response was maintained for more than a year and the patient
continues to be treated with ISIS-STAT3Rx. Another patient with
DLBCL experienced a 65% reduction in tumor burden and was,
therefore, able to receive an autologous stem cell transplant.
The patient remained disease free following the bone marrow
ISIS-STAT3Rx is currently in two phase Ib/IIa studies from
which results are expected next year - while one study is being
conducted in patients with advanced lymphomas like DLBCL, the
other study is being conducted in patients with metastatic liver
We note that ISIS-STAT3Rx is the first of Isis Pharma's
generation 2.5 chemistry candidates which are supposed to be
significantly more potent than drugs currently in development and
which could, therefore, be more effective in addressing
difficult-to-treat cancers like DLBCL.
In addition to presenting the encouraging efficacy data on
ISIS-STAT3Rx, Isis Pharma announced that it has achieved a
milestone payment from AstraZeneca with the latter selecting a
second development candidate under its collaboration agreement
with Isis Pharma. The $10 million milestone payment was triggered
with the selection of ISIS-ARRx, which will be evaluated as a
monotherapy as well as in combination with other drugs for the
treatment of prostate cancer.
Isis Pharma currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We are
encouraged by the company's progress with its pipeline - Isis
Pharma has several candidates in phase II or phase III
development. The next 12-18 months should be catalyst-filled with
Isis Pharma expected to report results from several studies.
We view Kynamro's Jan 2013 approval in the US as a major
milestone for the company. Kynamro was launched in late Mar 2013
and we expect investor focus to remain on the product's
Other companies that currently look well-positioned include
Anika Therapeutics Inc.
) with both being Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks.
ANIKA THERAPEUT (ANIK): Free Stock Analysis
ASTRAZENECA PLC (AZN): Free Stock Analysis
BIOGEN IDEC INC (BIIB): Free Stock Analysis
ISIS PHARMACEUT (ISIS): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.