Why the Imugene (ASX:IMU) share price is up 9% on Monday

News of a collaboration sent Imugene shares higher from the open.

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Shares in biotech company Imugene Limited (ASX: IMU) are lifting in afternoon trade today and are changing hands 9.09% higher at 54 cents.

Imugene’s share price has been gaining ground today after the company announced a strategic partnership with Eureka Therapeutics, Inc.

Here are the details.

What did Imugene announce today?

Imugene gave in-depth coverage of its strategic partnership with clinical stage biotechnology Eureka Therapeutics, including an investor presentation of the data and collaboration itself.

The collaboration will “explore the therapeutic potential of a combination of Imugene’s CD19 oncolytic virus onCARlytics in combination with Eureka’s anti-CD19 ARTEMIS T-cell therapy for the treatment of solid tumours”.

For reference, Imugene has a novel hypothesis that it uses to treat solid tumours using its onCARlytics platform, by priming tumour cells for destruction with a tumour marker called CD19.

Imugene states that Eureka’s T-Cell therapy may be superior to CAR-T cells – a kind of bio-engineered T-Cell designed to specifically attack cancer cells, that Imugene is currently studying.

It reckons that based on head-to-head preclinical trials, Eureka’s ARTEMIS T-Cell therapy may be a better fit as a combination therapy with onCARlytics instead of CAR-T therapy, in order to eradicate solid tumours in eligible patient groups.

This is because ARTEMIS T Cells “demonstrated superior efficacy, enhanced tumour infiltration, and less T-cell exhaustion” in the aforementioned studies.

Eureka already has a number of clinical partnerships on its books with the likes of French biopharma company Sanofi S.A, and oncology giant Lyell Immunopharma Inc (NASDAQ: LYEL).

In fact, it has also eclipsed the top 10 mark in terms of the world’s best ‘CAR-T Patent Assignees Worldwide’ with its ARTEMIS asset in 2020, per the release.

News of the collaboration sent Imugene’s share price higher, and today’s trading volume is already 122% of its 4-week average after just a few hours of activity.

What did management say?

Speaking on the announcement, Imugene’s CEO Leslie Chong said:

T-cell and CAR-T therapies have not achieved much success in solid tumours in part because of a lack of tumour specific targets. By using our proprietary oncolytic technology to force the tumour to express the CD19 target, we now have the ability to address this shortcoming. We believe the synergy between our onCARlytics platform and Eureka’s anti-CD19 ARTEMIS T-cells has the potential to shift the cellular medicine paradigm in treating solid tumours.

Imugene share price snapshot

It’s been a terrific year for Imugene and its share price, having posted an outsized return of 440% this year to date.

This extends its run into the green to over 800% in the past 12 months, a galaxy away from the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index (ASX: XJO)’s gain of around 25% in the same time.

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The author Zach Bristow has no positions 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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