New Upside Targets for Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PPHM) Shares

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Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PPHM) shares rose 8.19% to $0.337 on Monday and were flat in after-hours trading. The company has a market cap of $82.75 million at 242.38 million shares outstanding. Share prices have been trading in a 52-week range of $0.29 to $1.33 so there’s plenty of upside potential.

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company that is engaged in the research and development of monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer. Its other segment, Avid, is engaged in providing contract manufacturing services for third party customers on a fee-for-service basis while also supporting its internal drug development efforts.

Its lead immunotherapy candidate is Bavituximab, which is a monoclonal antibody that targets and binds to phosphatidylserine. This is  a immunosuppressive molecule that is usually located inside the membrane of healthy cells, but then flips and becomes exposed on the outside of cells in the tumor microenvironment, causing the tumor to evade immune detection.

In its press release this week, Peregrine Pharmaceuticals announced the presentation of positive data from multiple new preclinical studies of the company’s phosphatidylserine-targeting antibodies. The results highlight that PS-targeting antibodies similar to bavituximab synergize with checkpoint inhibitors and radiation to improve anti-tumor activity in various animal tumor models. In addition, theimproved anti-tumor activity seen in these studies was even greater when PS-targeting therapy was a part of triple combination treatment including anti-PD-1 and another therapy.

Based on these study results, we believe that the targeting of PS is having meaningful activity within the tumor microenvironment in the B16 melanoma model,” remarked immunotherapy thought-leader Dr. Jedd Wolchok. “It appears that this activity creates a more immune active environment in which other treatments, including radiation, are able to have a greater anti-tumor impact.”

These results were presented by Peregrine Pharmaceuticals scientists, along with researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centerat the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer 2016 Annual Meeting. Researchers evaluated the impact of the PS-targeting and radiation combination treatment on the level and type of immune activity. Analysis of local immune responses in the tumors of the treated animals showed that the combination treatment increased the number of tumor associated macrophages.

We have noted that the combination of PS-targeting treatment and radiation, as well as triple combination of PS-targeting treatment, radiation and anti-PD-1, resulted in clear advantages in anti-tumor activity in the mouse B16 melanoma model,” said Taha Merghoub, Ph.D. “We believe that these findings suggest the potential benefit of combining these agents to improve the outcomes of patients with cancer.  With this in mind, we think this research may play an important role in designing future clinical trials of PS-targeting agents in melanoma and other cancers.”

Another study also conducted by Peregrine Pharmaceuticals evaluated the effects of combining PS-targeting, anti-PD-1 and anti-LAG3 therapies in the E0771 triple negative breast cancer model.  Initial findings from this study were previously reported and demonstrated that 80% of the animal test subjects receiving the PS-targeting, anti-PD-1 and anti-LAG3 treatment combination experienced complete tumor regressions.

It is very encouraging to see the consistent increase in anti-tumor activity triggered by triple combination treatments that combine PS-targeting agents and anti-PD-1 with other cancer treatments.  By demonstrating this activity across multiple studies in multiple tumor models, we are continuing to build scientific support for the therapeutic potential of adding PS-targeting therapies in combination with other cancer treatments, including checkpoint inhibitors such as anti-PD-1,” said Jeff T. Hutchins, Ph.D., Vice President of Clinical Research at Peregrine Pharmaceuticals.

All in all, these study findings highlight the progress being made by the company in its treatment development and the potential for making great strides in cancer research, allowing Peregrine Pharmaceuticals stock to bottom out and establish a new uptrend.

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