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Why this ASX biotech share rocketed 14% higher today

The Immutep Ltd (ASX: IMM) share price surged 14.1% higher today after the ASX biotech company released an update on its ongoing cancer treatment trial.

What does Immutep do?

Immutep is a globally active biotechnology company that is a leader in the development of LAG-3 related immunotherapeutic products for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune disease.

The company is headquartered in Australia and is dual-listed on both the ASX and the NASDAQ exchange (NASDAQ: IMMP) in the United States.

After today’s surge, Immutep has a current market capitalisation of $172.3 million. Over the past 12 months, the Immutep share price has risen 44% higher from $0.308 to today’s closing price of $0.445.

What did Immutep announce?

This morning, Immutep announced interim data from its ongoing Phase II TACTI-002 study.

The data relates to use of the company’s lead product candidate eftilagimod alpha (efti), a soluble LAG-3 protein, as part of a combination treatment with pembrolizumab, an immunotherapy medication.

Immutepp commented that the activation of antigen-presenting cells and subsequent T cell recruitment with efti could possibly lead to stronger anti-tumour responses than observed with pembrolizumab alone.

Commenting on today’s update, Immutep Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Medical Officer Dr Frederic Triebel said:

“The results we are seeing from our TACTI-002 trial are highly encouraging, with 47% of first line non-small cell lung cancer patients responding. These results are remarkable given that usually only 20% of patients respond to pembrolizumab monotherapy, if not preselected for high PD-L1 expression.”

“Interestingly, patient responses are being seen in all three PD-L1 expression level groups, meaning the combination treatment seems to work even in patients not expected to respond to pembrolizumab monotherapy,” he added.

Recent market update

In Immunitep’s most recent market update on 29 January 2020, the company continued to report encouraging data from its trials of efti. Building on this momentum, the company reported that it had entered into a very important and decisive quarter.

With this, Immutep is preparing to report its first progression-free survival (PFS) data from its late-stage AIPAC study in metastatic breast cancer,which is expected in March 2020.

Prior to this, the company had made another clinical trial update to the market back on the 19 December 2020.

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As of 13/2/20

Motley Fool contributor Phil Harpur has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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