Racing higher: Race Oncology (ASX:RAC) share price jumps 13% on study breakthrough

It was a good day for the healthcare company.

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Shares in Australian pharmaceutical company Race Oncology Ltd (ASX: RAC) jumped higher today and finished 13% in the green.

Investors bid up the Race Oncology share price following study readouts for its lead drug candidate, Zantrene, in a heart safety research program.

Race Oncology shares traded as high as $3.83 before reversing course and finishing the day slightly lower at $3.81.

Here are the details.

What sent Race Oncology shares racing higher?

Race Oncology’s shares started well after it announced the company’s lead drug candidate, Zantrene, showed promising results in a recent preclinical trial.

The research found that Zantrene is able to “protect heart muscles cells from anthracycline (specifically doxorubicin) induced cell death while improving the killing of breast cancer cells”.

Anthracyclines are one of the most effective anti-cancer treatments developed and are used in more cancer settings than any other class of chemotherapeutic agent, according to the announcement.

However, whilst they are highly effective anti-cancer drugs, their use in patients comes with the serious risk of permanent damage to the heart.

Race Oncology’s discovery is therefore a step in resolving this issue for patients receiving life saving treatments in this complex area.

The discovery is to be fast-tracked to the clinic with a Phase 2b trial planned for 2022. The cohort will be made from breast cancer patients identified at risk of anthracycline-caused heart damage.

The company is also positive about where these latest results will lead in terms of Zantrene’s commercial success. It reckons the results “offer the potential of outsized clinical and commercial returns from new Zantrene/anthracycline formulations and combinations”.

Speaking on the announcement, Race Oncology’s CEO Phillip Lynch said:

Zantrene’s cardio toxic properties were always of interest, but this novel cardio protective insight is far more significant to the drug’s potential application as an adjunctive to anthracycline backbone chemotherapy. I look forward to the team quickly advancing these investigations so we might assess and progress this opportunity as a matter of substantial priority.

Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Daniel Tillett said:

After the discovery that Zantrene is a potent FTO inhibitor, this is a second ‘once in a lifetime’ discovery. To find that Zantrene can protect the heart from chemotherapy while also killing cancers better is an extraordinary ‘best of both worlds’ outcome. Given anthracyclines are used in millions of cancer patients every year, it is hard to overstate the clinical and commercial potential of this breakthrough.

Race Oncology share price history

In the past 12 months, the Race Oncology share price has gained 172% after rallying 118% this year to date.

It has soared 20% in the past month alone and is up 17% in the past week of trading as well. Each of these results outpaces the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO)’s gain of around 12.5% in the last year.

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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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