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What's Next for Novocure?

By Keith Speights and Brian Orelli, PhD – Aug 13, 2021 at 7:01AM

Key Points

  • Novocure investors should focus more on the company's future than its latest quarterly results.
  • The company should announce interim data for its tumor treating fields in ovarian cancer this quarter.
  • Four other key data readouts are expected in 2022.

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The company has several key data readouts on the way.

Novocure (NVCR 2.54%) disappointed investors with its second-quarter results announced on July 29. However, the company could have better news on the way. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on Aug. 4, Motley Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli discuss what's next for Novocure.

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Keith Speights: We also had a viewer on Monday ask, "What do you make of Novocure's earnings?" The ticker there is NVCR. I personally would broaden that question somewhat instead of just looking at the earnings in Q2, I think I would expand that question to, what do you think investors should watch with Novocure going forward based on what we saw in the company's Q2 update.

If Brian rejoins us, he can chime in here. But it did seem that investors were a little disappointed with Novocure's Q2 results. But I really think we should all be looking at the long term with not just this company, but with any company that we follow. For those who aren't familiar with Novocure, what the company does, it's developed devices that produce electric fields and it calls them tumor-treating fields. Hi Brian, are you back with us?

Brian Orelli: I'm back, can you hear me?

Speights: Yes. I can hear you. Brian, we're talking about Novocure and what investors should be looking forward to with this company beyond just the earnings update. I had already started to talk about what Novocure does with its tumor-treating fields. Maybe you can pick up there, what these tumor-treating fields do and then what investors really should be looking at with Novocure going forward.

Orelli: The idea here is the fields can disrupt microtubules and those microtubules are responsible for cellular division. They pull the duplicated chromosomes into the two daughter cells. If you don't get cell division then you can't get tumor growth. That's how they inhibit the growth of the tumors. They have already shown that the technology works in brain cancer and mesothelioma.

With that background out of the way, the company has quite a few readouts in the years to come. That should be really what investors are mostly focused on, rather than being focused on necessarily the most recent quarter. This quarter they are expecting an interim readout for the device to treat ovarian cancer. It might not be successful at the interim readout, but they have another opportunity when the full readout comes out in 2023.

Then next year they got four different readouts: a phase 2 in gastric cancer, interim results from the phase 3 and pancreatic cancer, phase 2 of a high-intensity array, so basically stronger tumor-treating fields in recurrent glioblastoma, which is brain cancer. Then they have final data for the phase 3 in lung cancer.

This study has an interesting history because the data monitoring committee, this was responsible for looking at the results of the study as it goes along, took an interim look at the results and said, basically you need to make this clinical trial shorter with fewer number of patients.

Because the data we're seeing says it'll work with those few patients and that short of a time. It would be unethical to run the clinical trial for longer with more patients. Reading between the lines and these are pretty big lines to read through. It seems likely that the device is going to help patients with lung cancer. Based on the interim data that the independent data monitoring committee has been looking at.

Keith Speights has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Novocure. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

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