The Imugene Ltd (ASX: IMU) share price is edging higher in afternoon trade on Wednesday and now trades at 48 cents apiece.
That’s a 5.5% gain on the day, well ahead of the S&P/ASX 200 Health Care index which has climbed 0.45%.
Imugene shares are on the move after the company announced a key patent update regarding one of its immunotherapies.
Here’s what we know.
Imugene share price jumps after patent approval
Imugene advised it was granted patent approval from the Japanese Patent Office for protection over its HER-Vaxx immunotherapy.
The HER-Vaxx regime is “currently in development” for a type of gastric malignancy known as HER2 positive gastric cancer.
As a result of the approval, the patent grants protection over “method of composition and method of use” for the biopharma company’s label.
This is the patent you’d want when applying for one – it covers the design and use of the product. That means Imugene’s rivals can’t copy how HER-Vaxx is made or copy its mechanism of action.
What’s more, the patent grants protection over the company’s technology until 2036, giving Imugene plenty of time to get things right.
The company’s announcement also notes that “approximately 75% of all gastric cancer diagnoses are in Asia”. It’s an alarming statistic compounded by the fact Japan has “the thirst highest incidence of gastric cancer worldwide”.
Of these cases, “approximately one in five” is diagnosed as HER2 positive which means the market for HER-Vaxx is large. The potential to make a meaningful difference is equally as large.
What did management say?
Speaking on the announcement, Imugene’s CEO Leslie Chong said:
Attaining the key Japanese patent is an important milestone. This adds extra value to Imugene’s portfolio of B-cell immunotherapies and this will protect them in one of the world’s largest HER2 positive gastric cancer markets until 2036.
Imugene share price snapshot
The Imugene share price has been a major outperformer this year to date, posting a return of 380% since January 1.
In the last month alone, Imugene shares have climbed a further 68% into the green.
This extends the return over the previous 12 months to 943%, well ahead of the broad index’s gain of around 25% over the past year.