Hong Kong’s biotech company CK Life Sciences, part of multinational conglomerate CK Hutchison, announced that its phase three clinical trial for a skin cancer drug has produced encouraging results.
Skin cancer drug skyrockets CK Life Sciences stock
The company’s shares (0775.HK) skyrocketed 240% after the announcement made on the 6th November1, from HK$0.36 on Wednesday to HK$1.24 the next day. It has since consolidated some gains and is now hovering around HK$0.97.
Headways in a skin cancer drug trial
The stock price rose for two straight days as the Hong Kong-based biotech company announced it has made significant headway in a skin cancer drug trial.
Developed by its U.S. immuno-oncology focused biopharmaceutical subsidiary Polynoma, the skin cancer drug targets patients with early-stage melanoma, which is the most serious and deadliest form of skin cancer. The target group is currently under-served, as most products on the market are for patients already progressed to the latter third and fourth stages, CK Life has said for CNBC.2
Seviprotimut-L potential as an adjuvant treatment
Polynoma stated that it is encouraged by the preliminary data from MAVIS (Melanoma Antigen Vaccine Immunotherapy Study), its ongoing Phase III clinical study of seviprotimut-L. The trial was done involving 347 patients. As the analysis has shown promising evidence of efficacy and safety, Polynoma envisages that seviprotimut-L has the potential to be an important new option for the adjuvant treatment of patients with localized melanoma.
The trials showed a lower recurrence rate of 41% for patients with stage 2B and 2C melanoma on the drug, compared to a group being administered a placebo. Patients under 60 years of age saw their recurrence rate drop by 76 percent after taking the drug, compared with those who took the placebo.
Melanoma vaccine innovation – seviprotimut-L
The initial data from the clinical study also suggested that seviprotimut-L could become an important innovation in the vaccine-based treatment of melanoma. No other vaccine has been approved to this day, for the adjuvant treatment of melanoma.
Vice president and chief scientific officer Melvin Toh Kean-meng said for the Standard3 that:
“The vaccine approach probably works better for younger patients.”
Responding to the strong market reaction, CK Life’s Chief Operating Officer Alan Yu told CNBC that investors might be starting to appreciate the potential of the company’s research projects, hinting that the firm is currently undervalued:
Global demand for the new skin cancer drug
“…people are beginning to take notice that these projects are starting to show some promise.”
Alan Yu also told CNBC that the biggest markets for the new skin cancer drug would be the United States and Europe, adding that a third of the world’s skincare cancer patients are diagnosed in the U.S.
An estimated 96,480 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, with 7,230 people estimated to will die from the disease.4
It is important to note, however, that there is no assurance of the final outcome yet, as the Phase III clinical trial for seviprotimut-L is ongoing and the data will be subject to further review.
CK Life Sciences expects that Polynoma will continue its research and development efforts on seviproimut-L and will enroll additional patients to confirm the preliminary results.
1.CK Life Sciences Int’l., (Holdings) Inc press release from the 6th November 2019: BUSINESS UPDATE ON PHASE III CLINICAL STUDY OF SEVIPROTIMUT-L ANNOUNCEMENT OF POTENTIAL INSIDE INFORMATION
2.CNBC article published on the 12th November 2019: Hong Kong’s CK Life Sciences bets on skin cancer drug as its stock soars more than 200%
3.The Standard article from the 7th November: CK Life soars on vaccine hope