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Why Agenus Stock Took Flight in May

By George Budwell - Updated Jun 8, 2020 at 9:57AM

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The immunotherapy company may be a diamond in the rough.

What happened

Agenus (AGEN 4.30%), a small-cap immunotherapy company, saw its stock gain a healthy 51% during the month of May, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The biotech's shares perked up late last month in response to a positive clinical update for its cancer immunotherapy pipeline presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting.  

So what

The big draw for investors last month was the news that Agenus' experimental checkpoint inhibitor AGEN1181 may turn out to be a best-in-class product. In an early-stage trial, AGEN1181 produced a 70% clinical benefit in patients with various solid tumors.

Cells undergoing division.

Image source: Getty Images.

What's more, the therapy reportedly produced a more-favorable safety profile versus similar anti-cancer antibodies, such as Bristol Myers Squibb's Yervoy. That's a big deal because Yervoy is currently a blockbuster product (greater than $1 billion in annual sales). So Agenus may have a game-changer on its hands from a value creation standpoint.   

Now what

Agenus plans on accelerating AGEN1181's development as a treatment for a host of solid tumors, including advanced skin and lung cancer. The key take-home point is that this anti-cancer therapy may now have a real shot at generating blockbuster sales. To put this potential revenue figure into the proper context, Agenus' market cap presently stands at just $653 million, so this small-cap biotech stock, in turn, may be a diamond in the rough. If you're the aggressive type, it might be worthwhile to grab a few shares soon.  

George Budwell has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Bristol Myers Squibb. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Agenus Inc. Stock Quote
Agenus Inc.
$2.67 (4.30%) $0.11
Bristol Myers Squibb Company Stock Quote
Bristol Myers Squibb Company
$74.86 (-0.13%) $0.10

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