Biotech Lung Cancer Investing

Success with Lung Cancer Drug

By Jon Carter
Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

You may know someone who has passed away from lung cancer or is battling the disease. If you do, you know how devastating it can be for that person – not to mention the pain that friends and family go through in seeing their loved ones struggling with this deadly disease.

biotech labLung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2013, approximately 228,190 new cases of lung cancer will develop, and there could be 159,480 deaths this year. Lung cancer accounts for 27 percent of cancer related deaths – more than colon, breast, and prostate cancer in one.

No one is on track to curing cancer, but there is a strong market effort to at least minimize and reduce cancer cells.

In previous articles, I touched upon the FDA’s drive to approve new drugs on the market that will improve the quality of life of patients suffering from debilitating diseases.

Canadian biotech firm Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCY) announced successful results in its U.S. clinic trial regarding squamous cell carcinoma of the lung. This new drug is called Reolysin, and it is used in conjunction with carboplatin and paclitaxel.

The primary goal of the study is to assess patient response to the drug, assessing a patient’s progress as he or she survives the cancer and the drug the therapy.

The study found that with a combination of these drugs, there was a 92 percent shrinkage rate in tumor sizes among 25 patients tested over the course of several cycles.

The tumors themselves were reduced by 32.7 percent.

Needless to say, investors and the market were excited by this finding. Oncolytics stock shot up 20 percentage points, with an overall 8.6 percentage progression in the last few months.

The types of patients treated were suffering from metastatic stage III, IV, or recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the lungs.

All pertinent data regarding the experiment is expected to be released later in 2013. The drug has not been approved, but with the FDA initiative to get this type of drug approved faster, there should be little problem.

So where does Oncolytics go from here?

I only see this company’s market prowess going up in the future, which could make it susceptible to buyouts by Big Pharma.

In previous articles, I've talked about Big Pharma’s desire to purchase smaller companies that are on the edge of major medical and treatment breakthroughs to stay relevant in the biotech field. What these big firms are looking for are partners and exclusive rights to cutting edge drugs and therapies like Reolysin.

This latest move will no doubt make Oncolytics a prime acquisition target, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Many of these smaller companies are doing quite well on their own, and larger medical firms are becoming more competitive in offering quality buyout deals to these firms.

Drug Competition

This is not only great news for Oncolytics but the medical field as a whole. But we always must remember the biotech field is steeped in heavy competition, and there is a rush to introduce new drugs like Reolysin to the market.

Oncolytics could be side-swiped by a competing firm, but the good news is that many trials and tests within lung cancer research have targeted different aspects of the disease. Because firms are trying to attract attention and funding, this has spawned some creativity in their research methods – approaching diseases like cancer and heart disease from different angles.

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Early this year, SignPath Pharma Inc. introduced a new technique that involves using curcumin, a component of turmeric, to reduce and subside cancer cells. The curcumin has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that will interfere with cell death and division.

The curcumin works in unison with nanoparticles and liposomes as a therapeutic method.

Another promising drug called necitumumab by Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) has undergone a fair number of setbacks, but it will work chemotherapy in increasing a patient’s survival of lung cancer. This type of drug targets squamous non-small lung cancer (NSCLC), but has not been approved by the FDA. Projected annual sales revenue is expected to be $1 billion.

Biotech Bet

If you're wondering if this is a good investment, the answer is a most definite yes. Few drugs on the market have been so successful in reducing the size of tumors.

The fastest-emerging therapies are for deadly diseases such as cancer and blood disorders such as leukemia or sickle cell anemia. Lung cancer therapy certainly ranks high as one of the most desired forms medicines on the market. It not only excites investors and can translate into multi-billion dollar sales, but it will catch the eye of big companies looking to gain patents and to add new drugs to their portfolios.

Keep Oncolytics on your radar for buyouts.

 

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