The stock market saw its recent volatility continue on Tuesday morning, as ongoing concerns about longer-term impacts of new COVID-19 variants weighed on market sentiment. As of 11:30 a.m. ET, the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) had given up early gains and was down 204 points to 15,579.
However, a couple of stocks in the biotechnology industry had their shareholders quite happy. Immunogen (IMGN 7.07%) and Molecular Technology (MOLN 4.21%) were big gainers on the Nasdaq Tuesday morning, and the news they announced could keep boosting their shares for some time to come. Below, we'll go into more detail about this news and why investors are excited about these companies.
Good news in fighting cancer
Shares of Immunogen were up more than 37% Tuesday morning. The biotech company announced positive results from a clinical trial that could bring new treatment options to patients suffering from cancer.
Immunogen reported the latest data from its Soraya phase-3 clinical trial of its antibody-drug conjugate candidate mirvetuximab in patients with ovarian cancer. The study met its primary endpoint of demonstrating mirvetuximab's favorable objective response rate in comparison to available forms of chemotherapy, and it also showed encouraging results in the duration of response to the treatment.
The company will therefore move forward with its efforts to complete its biologics license application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the goal of submitting for accelerated approval in the first quarter of 2022. Anticipating a favorable response from the FDA, Immunogen will also make preparations for a commercial launch later next year.
Even after today's gains, Immunogen shares are still well below their best levels this year and their all-time highs more than 20 years ago. Nevertheless, a win for the biotech company would be greatly appreciated by long-suffering shareholders.
Keeping up with omicron
Elsewhere, German biotech Molecular Partners saw its stock rise 14%. The company gave some favorable news about a key potential treatment for COVID-19.
Molecular Partners said that its candidate ensovibep, a treatment for patients in early stages of COVID-19 infection, should maintain full potency against the individual positions that are mutated in the omicron variant of the disease. Many experts have been concerned that the new mutations present in omicron might have detrimental impacts on the efficacy of vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, so the company's news was a positive sign. Molecular Partners will continue to test in order to ensure that ensovibep remains fully potent in fighting the mutated virus.
Even so, it'll still take time for ensovibep to make it through the regulatory gauntlet. The company's current phase 2/3 trial expects to produce top-line data in early 2022 that should help investors evaluate whether the treatment will be able to keep those who've already contracted COVID-19 from having to deal with progressively worsening symptoms and eventual hospitalization. Given the reluctance of a large portion of the population to take vaccines, medications like those from Molecular Partners might well prove instrumental in protecting millions of people from COVID-19's worst health effects.
Major pharmaceutical companies are also looking to release therapies for COVID-19, so Molecular Partners will have to keep up the pace to come out with a timely treatment. Investors are hopeful that the newly public company can cross the finish line in time to make a difference.