Why the Immutep (ASX:IMM) share price rocketed 14% today

The biotech company’s shares had a stellar day on the back of an intellectual property deal. Here are the details.

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The Immutep Ltd (ASX: IMM) share price finished strongly today. This came after the company announced it has been granted a new Chinese patent.

At close of trading today, the biotechnology company’s shares were trading at 67 cents, up 13.56%.

Progress with Chinese plans

Investors pushed Immutep shares higher today after digesting the company’s positive update.

According to its announcement, Immutep has been granted another patent to add to its portfolio. Approved by the Chinese Patent Office, the latest addition will seek to further protect Immutep’s intellectual property.

The new patent is titled ‘Combined Preparations for the Treatment of Cancer’ (patent number ZL201480073584.3).

Immutep said the patent follows its previous securing of corresponding European, Australian, Japanese and United States patents.

The patent relates to the company’s lead immunotherapy candidate, eftilagimod alpha (efti or IMP321), which is a LAG-3 fusion protein with a chemotherapy agent.

LAG-3 is an inhibitory co-receptor that plays a vital role in the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. The antigen-presenting cell activator works by controlling signalling pathways and activating T cell function. In layman’s terms, it removes the brakes to allow the immune system to kill cancer cells.

The new patent is solely owned by Immutep and is exclusively licenced to Chinese biopharmaceutical company EOC Pharma. The patent is set to expire on 19 December 2034. Based in Shanghai, EOC Pharma is focused on manufacturing and commercialising oncology products in China.

Judging by the performance of the Immutep share price, investors seem pretty excited by today’s developments.

Immutep chief scientific and chief medical officer Dr Frederic Triebel commented on the new patent, saying:

…this new patent provides protection in the important Chinese territory for a range of novel and highly relevant chemo-immunotherapies featuring efti that could be developed in the future by our partner, EOC Pharma.

EOC Pharma CEO Xiaoming Zou added:

We are very pleased that our partner, Immutep, continues to make important progress in building a robust patent estate around efti. This underpins our continued investment in this unique and promising candidate, and provides a range of future development options for our business.

About the Immutep share price

Over the past 12 months, the Immutep share price has gained almost 319%, with year-to-date performance delivering gains of around 61%.

Based on today’s price, Immutep has a market capitalisation of roughly $466 million, with approximately 696 million shares outstanding.

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Motley Fool contributor Aaron Teboneras 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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