Shares of the commercial-stage biotech Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE.Q -6.19%) are having a strong trading session Tuesday. Specifically, the drugmaker's stock was up by a respectable 6.7%, on average volume, as of 2:34 p.m. ET Tuesday.
What's powering Sorrento's stock higher today? Ahead of the opening bell, the biotech announced a late-stage win for its experimental lung cancer drug abivertinib.
Sorrento noted that evaluable advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with abivertinib in this trial exhibited an overall response rate of 56.5% (118/209). The drug also produced a complete response rate of 5.3% (11/209), along with a median overall survival of 28.2 months in this patient population.
Based on these data, Sorrento said that it is preparing the materials for a pre-New Drug Application meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company is also considering regulatory applications for the drug in other countries.
The big deal is that advanced NSCLC is a multibillion-dollar-a-year drug market. Abivertinib, in turn, would only have to capture a modest portion of this massive market to be a major growth driver for Sorrento in the years to come.
Should investors buy into this growth story? I've long thought that Sorrento's shares were incredibly undervalued based on abivertinib's enormous commercial opportunity. These positive late-stage data reaffirm this view. As a result, my take is that aggressive investors who are comfortable with risk ought to consider buying this biotech stock soon. Sorrento, after all, could be on the verge of a major growth spurt.