HCW also derived a 12-month price target of $14.00 per share.
The Lexington, Massachusetts-based company acquired today the exclusive, worldwide rights to a set of antibodies against immuno-oncology target CEACAM1 from Diatheva s.r.l., an Italian biotech company focused on the discovery and production of novel antibodies and a subsidiary of SOL S.p.A.
These antibodies are currently in pre-clinical studies, and under the terms of the agreement, Agenus could pay up to $44 million in development and regulatory milestones, in addition to royalties and milestone payments based on sales.
“We believe these CEACAM1 antibodies could complement Agenus’ current checkpoint modulator (CPM) programs, which includes GITR, OX40, LAG-3, TIM-3 and others developed in partnership with Merck and Incyte,” analyst Swayampakula Ramakanth wrote in a research note to investors today.
Management is expected to discuss the details of the CEACAM1 clinical development program during the second-quarter earnings call on July 23, HCW said.
CEACAM1 has been found to be highly expressed in a variety of cancers, including in up to 74 percent of melanomas, 92 percent of colon cancers, 94 percent of pancreatic cancers, and 96 percent of bladder cancers.
It has been shown that CEACAM1 forms a heterodimer with the immunomodulator TIM-3 on the surface of T-cells, and together they can induce T-cell inhibition and exhaustion. In a mouse preclinical model of colon cancer, co-blockade of CEACAM1 and TIM-3 was able to demonstrate a significant reduction in tumor size and was complementary to PD-L1 blockade.
CEACAM1 expression correlates with patient survival. CEACAM1 expression has also been shown to be an important biomarker and correlates with worse cancer prognosis. In a retrospective study, the collected tissue and serum samples from patients who underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer were analyzed for CEACAM1 expression.
It was shown that CEACAM1 tissue-positive patients had a median overall survival (OS) of 17.0 months compared to 23.0 months for CEACAM1 tissue-negative patients.
Similarly, CEACAM1 serum-positive patients showed a median OS of 11.8 months compared to 18.3 months for CEACAM1 serum-negative patients.
Based on these results, HCW said it believes the inhibition of CEACAM1 could have a substantial benefit on patient outcomes.
based on the average of two valuation methods: 1) price-sales multiple analysis applying an 8x multiple to our 2025 sales estimate discounted at 12%; and 2) price-earnings multiple analysis applying an 18x multiple to our 2025 estimated earnings discounted at 12%.