Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Here's Why Iovance Biotherapeutics Soared Today

By Maxx Chatsko – Updated May 16, 2019 at 1:48PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The company's promising immunotherapy approach delivered impressive data in multiple studies.

What happened

Shares of Iovance Biotherapeutics (IOVA 3.54%) jumped as much as 47.6% today after the company reported interim data from ongoing clinical trials for two drug candidates. Both experimental treatments use tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) to harness an individual's immune system to target and attack cancer cells.

The biopharma announced that LN-145 achieved an overall response rate (ORR) of 44% for advanced cervical cancer patients. By comparison, Keytruda from Merck has an ORR of 14% in the same patient population. Meanwhile, LN-144 (lifileucel) maintained its previously observed ORR of 38% in advanced melanoma and delivered a disease control rate of 76% at the 7.4-month median follow-up.

As of 2:16 p.m. EDT, the stock had settled to a 34.3% gain.

A businessman tossing cash money in the air.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Today's news is a big deal for Iovance Biotherapeutics. While early-stage clinical results can be promising, it's always important for the glimpses of efficacy and safety to hold up in later-stage studies. The interim data for LN-145 are part of a phase 2 trial, while the update for lifileucel is from a phase 3 trial.

What's more, the company may only be scratching the surface of what TILs can do. The studies reporting updates today involve just a single dose of treatment in two cancers with poor prognosis. That suggests there's ample room for fine-tuning in the solid tumor landscape, such as combination therapies or patient-specific TILs.

Progress is being made on that front. Iovance Biotherapeutics announced that the first patient was dosed in a phase 2 trial evaluating a combination therapy of lifileucel and Keytruda. It's also exploring next-generation TIL products as therapies for solid tumors that rapidly mutate, a common feature of advanced melanoma.

Now what

When Iovance Biotherapeutics made a bet on TILs years ago, it was an unusual move given the CAR-T craze. But the strategy is certainly showing promise now. Investors will need to remain patient, as the company doesn't expect its most advanced clinical trial (lifileucel in advanced melanoma) to reach full enrollment until early 2020. That said, this $1.8 billion company is one to watch in the immunotherapy space.

Maxx Chatsko has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Iovance Biotherapeutics, Inc. Stock Quote
Iovance Biotherapeutics, Inc.
$10.24 (3.54%) $0.35

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/29/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.