Imugene Limited (ASX: IMU) stock is in great demand with investors on Tuesday.
In morning trade, the beaten-down biotech share is up almost 7% to 6.3 cents.
Why is Imugene stock rising?
Investors have been buying the biotech's shares after it announced another patent grant this morning.
According to the release, the Japanese Patent Office has granted the company patent number 2019-553504.
The release explains that the patent protects Imugene's immunotherapeutic PD1-Vaxx, a first-in-class programmed death-1 (PD1) vaccine, currently in clinical development for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Until it expires in March 2038, it will protect the composition of matter and method of treatment in cancer of Imugene's PD1-Vaxx for the generation of a therapeutic antibody response against the PD1 checkpoint target. This means it now has protection in both Japan and the United States.
What is PD1-Vaxx?
Imugene's PD1-Vaxx is a B-cell activating immunotherapy that has been designed to treat tumours, such as lung cancer, by interfering with PD-1/PD-L1 binding and interaction and producing an anti-cancer effect similar to Keytruda, Opdivo and the other immune checkpoint inhibitor monoclonal antibodies that are transforming the treatment of a range of cancers.
The immunotherapy has delivered promising results so far. For example, the company notes that last week marked 1,000 days cancer-free for a patient with late-stage NSCLC who was recruited and dosed in December 2020.
Imugene's CEO, Leslie Chong, was pleased with the news. Chong said:
Attaining the key Japanese patent, on top of gaining protection in the USA this year, is a very important milestone. Recruitment in the Phase 1 PD1-Vaxx trial, as monotherapy or in combination with atezolizumab in adults with NonSmall Cell Lung Cancer, has increased markedly recently with strong interest from new clinical sites to participate in this innovative study.
Despite today's gain, Imugene stock remains down over 70% since this time last year. It was because of this fall from grace over the last 12 months that the company was kicked out of the ASX 200 index this month.