On October 11, 2017, development stage biotechnology Immune Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IMNP) put out this release detailing an upcoming data presentation.
The company has picked up some sharp upside momentum on the news, closing out the session on Wednesday for a 15% premium to its open pricing and picking up a couple of extra percentage points after hours.
At Thursday open, Immune will go for around $1.66 a piece.
At first glance, the reason that this release is pushing the company up so far is a little unclear.
Take a closer look, however, and its implications are far-reaching for the company, its lead development asset and, by proxy, its current shareholders.
Here is why and what comes next.
For those new to this company, Immune’s lead development asset is a drug called bertilimumab and the current lead indication at which the company is targeting bertilimumab is a condition called bullous pemphigoid, an orphan auto-immune dermatological condition affecting approximately 30,000 patients in the United States.
We actually covered some interim data from a phase 2 study of this one back at the end of September, which is available here for anybody interested.
Anyway, the latest release details Immune’s intentions to present some preclinical data at The Liver Meeting 2017 – the 68th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) – that is set to take place October 20-24, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Specifically, the presentation in question will be on the Friday, which is October 20, between 12:00 and 1:30 PM ET.
This is a preclinical data presentation and these sorts of early-stage numbers don’t generally translate to the degree of upside potential we are seeing in Immune right now, so what’s up?
Well, the data relates to the oral administration of something called an anti-eotaxin-1 monoclonal antibody in the treatment of immune-mediated hepatitis. Hepatitis, when it’s the immune-mediated form, is a type of liver disease caused by a problem with the immune system and, specifically, over inflammatory activity. The data being presented suggests that an anti-eotaxin-1 monoclonal antibody can reduce the inflammatory activity and can, by proxy, help to control the disease.
Again, why is this so important?
Because this mechanism of action, eotaxin-1 inhibition and the reduced inflammatory activity brought about by said inhibition is the mechanism of action that underpins the above-mentioned bertilimumab – the company’s lead development asset.
The importance of this, then, is that this albeit early-stage data suggests that bertilimumab cannot only treat its current lead indication of bullous pemphigoid but may be able to treat a far wider patient population – those affected by immune-associated liver diseases.
That’s why the company is running.
So what’s next?
Well, we are going to keep an eye on the presentation to see how much of an impact a drug like bertilimumab can have in this patient population and, if the data are strongly supportive of an efficacy thesis, there is a good chance that this company will continue to run heading into the close of 2018.
We’ve got to keep in mind that this data is preclinical and that the study is a mouse model, which adds a large degree of uncertainty to the equation; just because a drug works in mice doesn’t mean that this efficacy will translate to humans in clinical trials.
With that said, however, the data collected to-date as part of the primary clinical program reinforces the suggestion that bertilimumab can be used to mediate excessive autoimmune responses to certain conditions and, if this is the case, then there is a decent chance that any preclinical efficacy signal is an indication that we will get some translate-ability from animal to human.
Now all eyes are on the presentation and, beyond that, a second-quarter data presentation from the above-discussed phase 2 BP trial in the lead program.
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Image courtesy of Ed Uthman via Flickr
Disclosure: We have no position in IMNP and have not been compensated for this article.