Investors Taking Stock of Key ASCO Abstracts

Anita T. Shaffer @Shaffer1
Published: Thursday, May 19, 2011

All Eyes on Stocks as ASCO approaches While oncology specialists await the latest research news from the upcoming ASCO annual meeting in June, so do legions of biopharmaceutical analysts and investors. The Web has been buzzing in recent weeks with glimpses of research that ASCO has accepted for presentation from publicly traded pharmaceutical companies. Such developments are significant to investors because of the potential impact on the market for treatments for affected disease states and on the financial fortunes of the companies themselves.

As a story on The Street stock market news site explained last week, “Biotech traders start focusing on ‘ASCO stocks’ early in the year, well before the release of research abstracts.” The Street has put together a list of abstracts from nearly 24 pharmaceutical companies that Wall Street analysts are likely to find noteworthy. The list (The Street) includes major companies with multifaceted product lines as well as small biotechs focused on bringing their first products to market.

Kantar Health, a consulting and market research company, has winnowed the field of abstracts important to investors to 9 presentations of pivotal trial data (Kantar Health Preview). These abstracts cover reports on 2 melanoma studies concerning ipilimumab (Yervoy) and PLX4032 (RG7204); 2 sarcoma studies involving ridaforolimus (MK8669) and pazopanib (Votrient); bevacizumab (Avastin) in ovarian cancer; erlotinib (Tarceva) in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); cetuximab (Erbitux) in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck; axitinib (AG013736) in renal cell carcinoma; and amrubicin in small cell lung cancer.

In addition, Kantar identified 5 presentations of negative phase III results. These cover investigations of 3 acute myeloid leukemia trials involving decitabine (Dacogen), clofarabine (Clolar), and amonafide (AS1413); iniparib in triple-negative breast cancer; and motesanib in NSCLC.

Meanwhile, several major pharmaceutical companies have announced their ASCO lineups, spotlighting research they feel is important to clinicians:

  • Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, will present “significant progress” in advanced skin, lung, and ovarian cancers, with key trial results on vemurafenib (RG7204/PLX4032); erlotinib; the compound MetMab; and bevacizumab (Genetech).
  • Pfizer Inc will present more than 30 abstracts, with notable discussions of crizotinib in NSCLC, axitinib in renal cell carcinoma, and bosutinib in chronic myeloid leukemia. There also will be positive and negative data evaluating sunitinib malate (Sutent) in multiple tumor types (Pfizer ).
  • Eli Lilly and Company said data from more than 30 studies will be presented, particularly phase III results on the use of pemetrexed for injection (Alimta) in NSCLC (Eli Lilly and Company).
  • Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc is highlighting research into radium-223 chloride in patients with bone metastases from castration-resistant prostate cancer (Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc).
  • Incyte Corporation pointed to its plans to detail pivotal phase III results of ruxolitinib in myelofibrosis (Incyte Corporation).

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