Imugene (ASX:IMU) share price surges 7% as R&D efforts increase

Shares in the Aussie cancer treatment company are surging on Monday

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Group of Imugene scientists cheering in the lab after the company received another patent for HER-Vaxx

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The Imugene Ltd (ASX: IMU) share price has surged more than 7% on Monday after the immuno-oncology company's latest full-year results release.

At the time of writing, the Imugene share price is trading at 37 cents apiece, up 7.25

Imugene share price surges 7% as R&D efforts increase

Imugene provided an update for the year ended 30 June 2021 (FY21) this afternoon. Some of the key takeaways include:

  • Net loss after tax increased by 75.6% on the prior corresponding period to $18.5 million
  • Net tangible asset backing per share down 10% on pcp to $0.60
  • Cash outflow of $13.3 million, from a net $10.4 million outflow in FY20
  • Net assets increased by 8.7% on pcp to $65.0 million

However, for a research and development (R&D) intensive business like Imugene, the financials don't tell the full story. Imugene's increased loss came due to a significant increase in clinical trial and research activities undertaken during the year.

What happened for Imugene in FY21?

The company has 3 major segments or treatment areas: onCARlytics, CF33 Oncolytic Virus and B Cell Immunotherapy.

Immugene obtained the worldwide exclusive licence of patents covering the cell therapy technology known as onCARlytics in May 2021. Developed at the City of Hope cancer research centre near Los Angeles in the United States, the agent tags cancer cells for CAR T cell destruction.

The goal is to target and eradicate solid tumours that are otherwise difficult to treat with CAR T cell therapy alone.

CF33 is a chimerica vaccinia orthopoxvirus from the lab of City of Hope's Professor Yuman Fong. Pre-clinical data demonstrated that CF33 showed superior replication and cancer cell killing in NCI-60 cell lines and was more potent than all parental and competitor viruses, according to today's update.

The company received a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) IND clearance to conduct a first in human Phase 1, open-label, non-randomised, dose-escalation, single centre study of intratumoral administration of its CHECKvacc treatment.

Imugene also plans to conduct a first in human Phase 1, open-label, non-randomised, multi-centre study interrogating intratumoral and intravenous administration routes of its VAXINIA CF33+hNIS monotherapy.

In a big year for Imugene and its share price, the group had its HER-Vaxx Phase 2 interim safety and efficacy data reviewed at the Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC) meeting. The IDMC reported no safety concerns and viewed the preliminary data as strongly in favour of an HER-Vaxx survival effect.

HER-Vaxx completed enrolment into the open-label Phase 2 study on 7 January 2021.

What's next for Imugene and its share price?

It's been a huge year of clinical trials and research for Imugene. The company's share price has reflected that with 270% gains in 2021 so far.

Imugene announced an exclusive strategic partnership with Celularity post year-end. The partnership will explore the therapeutic potential of a combination of onCARlytics and Celularity's CD19 targeting chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). Nonclinical in vitro and in vivo combination studies are set to commence in 2021.

The Imugene share price is climbing higher on Monday following the result with the immuno-oncology company now boasting a market capitalisation approaching $2 billion.

Motley Fool contributor Ken Hall has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. 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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