May 16th, 2023 | 09:30 CEST
Morphosys, Defence Therapeutics, Evotec - A lot of movement in the biotech sector
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Defence Therapeutics - Consistently good news flow
The Canadian biopharmaceutical company, which is using its patented Accum™ platform technology to develop the next generation of vaccines and ADC products, is going from strength to strength. The technology allows precise transport of vaccine antigens or ADCs in the intact form to target cells. Based on Accum™, Defence Therapeutics has already developed plans around therapeutic vaccines against cancer, a vaccine against infections with the HP virus, which also has potential for acute therapeutic use, and the chemotherapeutic AccuTOX.
In cooperation with the clinical team at the City of Hope hospital, one of the largest academic medical centers in the United States, Defence Therapeutics has successfully completed the preclinical efficacy study for AccuTOX, its most advanced research and development program. This milestone opens the door for submitting IND (Investigational New Drug) documents for a Phase I clinical trial. The compound has been shown to prevent tumor growth in animal models, including T-cell lymphoma, breast cancer and malignant melanoma. The focus of the completed preclinical study was on minimizing the dosage of AccuTOX on the one hand and on combining it with anti-PD-1 as well as anti-LAG3 on the other, which is comparable to the use of Opdualag, a combination drug from the company BMS. This drug is currently administered to cancer patients at the City of Hope.
The results were convincing. It was possible to lower the dosage. In addition, with regard to combination therapy, it was determined that AccuTOX could be easily adapted with surface proteins or any antibodies currently being tested in advanced clinical trials. Through this milestone, Defence Therapeutics and City of Hope intend to complete their Investigational New Drug application process as planned.
In addition to AccuTOX, both technology and other developments associated with Accum™ are making significant progress. Further news is expected soon, according to management. The Company is broadly diversified and highly scalable due to its platform technology. The market capitalization is currently CAD 118.65 million. The wave of acquisitions in the biotechnology sector has been going on for months. Most recently, the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer acquired Seagen, a company that can be classified in the peer group of Defence Therapeutics. The takeover price was USD 43 billion.
Morphosys - Chart picture brightens further
After the disastrous stock market year 2022 with price losses of 66%, the rebound that the share started at a low of EUR 11.80 at the end of December continues. Since then, Morphosys has posted a performance of almost 70% to currently EUR 21.20. The next resistance levels are already at EUR 21.63 and EUR 24.77. Should the latter be broken, a buy signal would be generated with a potential close to the EUR 30 mark.
The analysts at US investment bank Goldman Sachs are less optimistic about the Morphosys stock. They adjusted their valuation model for the antibody specialist after the first-quarter figures. The experts continue to see a price target of EUR 12.50, and the investment recommendation is "sell".
Things should get exciting at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which will take place from June 2 to 6, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois, and the hybrid annual meeting of the European Hematology Association, which will be held from June 8 to 11, 2023, in Frankfurt. There, the Martinsried-based company intends to demonstrate the potential of its oncology pipeline. Presentations will include the latest data on Pelabresib, a BET inhibitor currently in development, and Tafasitamab, an immunotherapy directed against CD19, which is marketed in the US together with Incyte under the brand name Monjuvi.
Evotec - The MDAX beckons
The Hamburg-based biotech company, active in the field of pharmaceutical drug research, also provided its annual report and an announcement for the first quarter of 2023. Evotec reported a successful start to the year with several extensions and expansions of partnerships. "The size and scope of the transactions were significantly greater than in the same period in 2022," it said in a press release.
No further details were reported in relation to first-quarter results. In contrast, the future MDAX candidate, which plans to return to the MDAX in June, is sticking to its annual forecasts. Due to a cyber attack, the Company was unable to deliver its audited annual financial statements on time, forcing Evotec to drop out of the index.
For 2023, Evotec expects EUR 820 million to EUR 840 million in revenue and an adjusted operating profit of EUR 115 million to EUR 130 million.
The strong news flow from Defence Therapeutics continues. Morphosys plans to present the potential of its oncology pipeline in early June. Evotec maintains its full-year guidance.
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