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Spectrum Pharma Stock Up on Positive Lung Cancer Study Data

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Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. SPPI announced encouraging data from preliminary analysis of a phase II study evaluating its pan-HER inhibitor, poziotinib, in EGFR Exon 20 Mutant non-small cell lung cancer (“NSCLC”). The study is being conducted by MD Anderson Cancer Center of the University of Texas.

Preliminary data from the first 11 patients showed that poziotinib achieved an objective response rate (“ORR”) of 64% in the phase II study. This was higher than the ORR of 20-30% expected initially. Although the candidate did not reach a median progression free survival (“PFS”) after a median follow up of 6.5 months, it has displayed potential of PFS benefit in the patient population.

Shares of the company rallied almost 42% on Tuesday following the news. Moreover, Spectrum Pharma’s stock has been up 9.5% so far this year, outperforming the industry’s decline of 3.9% in the period.


Moreover, adverse events were consistent with EGFR inhibitor-related toxicities.

Spectrum Pharma is planning to present detailed analysis of this study at a major medical meeting later this year.

It should be noted that these results are preliminary data from a mid-stage study and it is a long way before clinical studies are concluded to get actual benefits. However, given the high unmet need in the NSCLC patient population with this specific mutation, the encouraging data was cheered by the investors.

Spectrum Pharma is currently evaluating poziotinib in multiple mid-stage studies for breast and gastric cancer.

AstraZeneca AZN is also developing Tagrisso (osimertinib) for treating Exon 20 mutant NSCLC, which is currently approved for NSCLC patients with EGFR T790M mutation.

Apart from poziotinib, Spectrum Pharma’s pipeline include two late stage candidates — Rolontis and Qapzola — which are being developed for the treatment of breast cancer and bladder cancer, respectively.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Spectrum Pharma carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A couple of better-ranked stocks in the pharma sector include Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc. PTGX and Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. CATB. While Protagonist sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Catabasis carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Protagonist’s loss estimates narrowed from $1.30 to 66 cents for 2018 and from $1.99 to $1.26 for 2019, over the last 30 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 24.95%.

Catabasis’ loss estimates narrowed from $1.09 to 92 cents for 2018 and from $1.76 to $1.48 for 2019, in the last 30 days. The company came up with a positive earnings surprise in all the preceding four quarters, with an average beat of 14.56%. The stock has rallied 22.2% so far this year.

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