Why the Immutep (ASX:IMM) share price is rocketing 39% higher today

The Immutep Ltd (ASX:IMM) share price has been on fire on Friday and is rocketing 39% higher. Here’s what you need to know…

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The best performer on the All Ordinaries index on Friday by some distance has been the Immutep Ltd (ASX: IMM) share price.

In afternoon trade, the biotechnology company’s shares are up 29% to 44.5 cents.

At one stage today, the Immutep share price was up as much as 39% to 48 cents.

Why is the Immutep share price rocketing higher?

Investors have been scrambling to buy Immutep’s shares on Friday following the release of a positive announcement Bristol Myers Squibb.

Bristol Myers Squibb is a US$141 billion NYSE-listed pharmaceutical company.

On Thursday Bristol Myers Squibb announced the primary results from the Phase 2/3 RELATIVITY-047 trial. This trial is evaluating the fixed-dose combination of relatlimab, an anti-LAG-3 antibody, and Opdivo versus Opdivo alone in patients with previously untreated metastatic or unresectable melanoma.

According to the release, the trial met its primary endpoint of progression-free survival. Whereas the secondary endpoint, a follow up on overall survival, is ongoing.

The release notes that the fixed-dose combination was well-tolerated and there were no new safety signals reported.

Jonathan Cheng, senior vice president and head of oncology development at Bristol Myers Squibb, commented: “The results of this study suggest that targeting the LAG-3 pathway in combination with PD-1 inhibition may be a key strategy to enhance the immune response and help improve outcomes for these patients.”

How does this impact Immutep?

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 news out of Bristol Myers Squibb appears to have sparked hopes that Immutep’s own therapies will prove as successful.

Goetz Partners was pleased with the news and reiterated its outperform rating and 90 cents price target this morning.

It commented: “With Immutep’s Eftilagimod alpha (efti) also showing positive benefits in combination with PD-1 in HNSCC (head and neck cancer) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), these new data highlight the potential of Immutep’s in-house and partnered programme. With the prospect of further HNSCC and NSCLC data from TACTI-002, final AIPAC survival data expected over the course of 2021E, we reiterate our OUTPERFORM recommendation and AUD$0.9 target price.”

This price target implies potential upside of ~100% for the Immutep share price over the next 12 months.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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