Why Compugen Ltd. Shares Jumped

Compugen shares ascend to the heavens after disclosing initial data on one of its experimental immune checkpoint candidates. Find out whether or not this pop is deserved.

Jun 16, 2014 at 3:10PM

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Compugen (NASDAQ:CGEN), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutic proteins and monoclonal antibodies to treat immunologic and oncologic disease, jumped as much as 12% on the day after reporting positive results for investigational immune checkpoint candidate CGEN-15052.

So what: According to Compugen's early morning press release, CGEN-15052, "demonstrated robust inhibition of T cell activation, both as a membrane protein and as an Fc fusion protein." Compugen's initial tests in human cancer tissues demonstrated CGEN-15052 expression in "multiple epithelial cancers," with Compugen noting a high expression in lung cancer samples.

In addition, Compugen also disclosed the discovery of two new B7-like immune checkpoint candidates, bumping up its number of discoveries to 11 in what it classifies as high medical areas of interest.

Now what: First, we have even more proof that the company's methodology and research platform works with nearly one dozen therapeutic product candidates discovered since its inception. As I've discussed previously, the more pitches a clinical-stage company has to swing at, the better chance it has of hitting a home run. Being able to generate new immune checkpoint compounds may give Compugen a greater chance at success. Additionally, initial results from CGEN-15052 are encouraging, and provide further evidence that Compugen's research is moving in the right direction. Still, as a wholly clinical company with much of its research still very early stage I find placing a somewhat accurate valuation on Compugen difficult. With plenty of clinical testing to come over the next few years investors' safest bet may be to remain on the sidelines until we have something tangible to base our investing decision on.

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Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

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