Juno Therapeutics’ Stock Rally. Exelixis’ Successful Trial for Liver Cancer

Juno Therapeutics’ (JUNO) stock price orbited the moon after-hours trading yesterday, rising 45%, following a wall street journal report stating that Celgene (CELG) was in discussions to take over Juno and that the negotiations could result in a deal in the coming weeks.

Juno was established to create cellular immuno-oncology products- chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T) to treat cancer.

Neither Juno nor Celgene would comment on the Wall Street news.

In 2015, Celgene and Juno signed a collaboration agreement aimed at developing and commercializing immunotherapies for cancer and autoimmune diseases. Upon the conditions of the agreement, Celgene gained an option to commercialize Juno programs outside North America and co-promote certain programs globally. Juno gains option to co-develop and co-promote select Celgene programs. Celgene made an initial payment of around $1 billion, which includes the purchase of around 9.1 million shares of Juno stock at $93.00 per share, with the potential to increase its stake over time.

The news came less than a week after the Celgene announced it would buy Impact Biomedicines for $7 billion.

Terms of the possible deal have not been revealed.

In premarket trading, JUNO is trading today at $70.05 UP $24.43  

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Successful Outcome of Trial On Liver Cancer

Exelixis (EXEL) and Ipsen announced detailed results of the pivotal phase 3 CELESTIAL trial in patients with previously treated advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

The CELESTIAL trial results demonstrate a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement versus placebo in overall survival (OS) — the trial’s primary endpoint of the study.

– Median OS was 10.2 months with cabozantinib versus 8.0 months with placebo.

– Median progression-free survival (PFS) was more than doubled, at 5.2 months with cabozantinib and 1.9 months with placebo

– Objective response rates per RECIST 1.1 were 4 percent with cabozantinib and 0.4 percent with placebo.

– Disease control (partial response or stable disease) was achieved by 64 percent of the cabozantinib group compared with 33 percent of the placebo group.

In a subgroup analysis of patients whose only prior therapy for advanced HCC was sorafenib (70 percent of patients in the study:

– Median OS was 11.3 months with cabozantinib versus 7.2 months with placebo (HR 0.70, 95 percent CI 0.55-0.88).

– Median PFS in the subgroup was 5.5 months with cabozantinib versus 1.9 months with placebo (HR 0.40, 95 percent CI 0.32-0.50).

– Adverse events were consistent with the known safety profile of cabozantinib.

Ghassan K. Abou-Alfa, M.D., Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and lead investigator on CELESTIAL, will present detailed findings, including analyses of OS and PFS in various patient subgroups, during Oral Abstract Session B: Cancers of the Pancreas, Small Bowel, and Hepatobiliary Tract, which begins at 2:15 p.m. PT on Friday, January 19, 2018.

“Patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma often have a poor prognosis and limited treatment options following prior systemic therapy,” said Dr. Abou-Alfa. “The clinically significant benefits in both overall survival and progression-free survival shown in the CELESTIAL trial suggest that, if approved, cabozantinib could become an important addition to the treatment landscape for these patients.”

Important: to read about the side effects in the firm’s press release.

Webcast for the Financial Community

Exelixis and its partner Ipsen will jointly host a live webcast on Friday, January 19.

The webcast will begin at 6:30 p.m. PT/ 9:30 p.m. ET.

During the webcast, Exelixis and Ipsen management and an invited guest speaker will review results from the CELESTIAL trial.

To access the webcast link: Log onto www.exelixis.com and proceed to the News & Events/ Event Calendar page under the Investors & Media heading.

Please connect to the company’s website at least 15 minutes prior to the webcast to ensure adequate time for any software download that may be required to view the program.

By phone: Dial 855-793-2457 (domestic) or 631-485-4921 (international/toll dial) and use passcode 2478857. A telephone replay will be available until 11:59 p.m. ET on January 26, 2018.

Access numbers for the telephone replay are: 855-859-2056 (domestic) and 404-537-3406(international); the passcode is 2478857. A webcast replay will also be available archived on www.exelixis.com for one year.

Prohost Observations

More good news for Exelixis.

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