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April 7, 2014
10:19 EDTAGIOAgios surges after blood cancer drug shows 'promising activity'
Shares of biopharmaceutical company Agios Pharmaceuticals (AGIO) are rising after the company reported that its blood cancer drug, AG-221, showed "promising clinical activity." WHAT'S NEW: Yesterday, Agios announced that it presented preliminary data from its lead, first-in-class program AG-221. The preliminary findings demonstrated the clinical activity, tolerability and unique mechanism of action of AG-221 in patients with advanced hematologic malignancies with an isocitrate dehydrogenase-2, or IDH2, mutation. The company said, "This is the first clinical trial of an inhibitor of mutant IDH, and while the primary objectives of this study are to determine the safety and tolerability of AG-221, we were also able to demonstrate promising clinical activity, including multiple complete remissions, in patients whose blood cancers carried an IDH2 mutation, even at the lowest tested dose. The treatment has been well tolerated to date, and as we have not yet achieved the maximum tolerated dose, the study continues to enroll patients." ANALYST REACTION: Today, JPMorgan upgraded Agios to Overweight from Neutral citing a declined risk profile following the company's "robust" interim phase 1 data on AG-221. The firm raised its price target for shares to $55 from $40. Analyst Geoff Meacham said that the new AG-221 data comprises the first clinical trial data to support what JPMorgan had already considered to be "very strong science" at the biopharaceutical company. He noted that the data was well ahead of expectations since six out of seven evaluated patients achieved a clinical response, with the majority of those being complete responses. Meacham said the firm is introducing AG-221 revenue models by projecting that the agent could peak at $1B globally, which increases the firm's estimate for Agios' total cancer program to over $3B in peak sales. PRICE ACTION: During morning trading, shares of Agios Pharmaceuticals jumped $7.82 or 22.04% to $43.30.
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