Agios Pharmaceuticals Smart Buy Ahead Of Cancer Data: Citi

Published: Oct 16, 2014

Agios Pharmaceuticals Smart Buy Ahead Of Cancer Data: Citi

October 17, 2014

By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Sr. Editor

Boston area biotech Agios Pharmaceuticals continues to be a good buy even ahead of its much-anticipated announcement of study results for a groundbreaking cancer drug, said Citigroup biotech analyst Christopher Mortko Thursday.

Agios saw shares of its stock jump almost 70 percent in value earlier this year after it showed its flagship cancer drug, AG-221, removed all traces of acute myeloid leukemia in three of seven patients with a gene mutation known as IDH2.

But there’s even more value in the company’s cancer therapy pipeline, said Mortko in a note to investors. “Near term, there are several catalysts that have potential to further validate/de-risk the Agios platform and build value,” he wrote.

These include initial AG-120 data in hematological tumors at EORTC-NCI-AACR, with updated AG-221 data in acute myeloid leukemia at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in December, as well as initial AG-348 data in healthy volunteers at ASH in December. There is also potential proof of concept in PK deficiency in 2015 and AG-120 data in solid tumors.

As AG-221 moves toward registrational studies, the company has been keeping analysts on Wall Street updated about its progress.

Agios provided an overview of the AG-221 program. Recall, AG-221 has already demonstrated proof of concept in AML and the next update at ASH will provide more clarity around durability of response, a key question for investors,” wrote Mortko.

“We expect at least six additional months of data from the last update at EHA if we assume an Oct. 25 cutoff. Recall, at EHA, the longest response was ongoing at four monhs and no responding patients relapsed on therapy which we view as encouraging,” he concluded.

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