BioTuesdays

HCW starts Targovax ASA at buy; PT 19 NOK

H.C. Wainwright initiated coverage of Oslo-based Targovax ASA (OSE:TRVX) with a “buy” rating and price target of 19 NOK. The stock closed at 5.44 NOK on Aug. 19.

Analyst Joseph Pantginis writes that Targovax’s lead asset, ONCOS-102, is an oncolytic virus with dual activity in both direct killing of tumor cells, and inducing innate and adaptive immune activation. “This one-two punch has correlated with meaningful clinical responses,” he said.

Encouraging Phase 1 data obtained in a variety of hard-to-treat solid tumors prompted Targovax’s decision to focus resources on the oncolytic virus platform, while the cancer vaccine program, although promising, was recently placed on the back burner, he added.
ONCOS-102 is being tested in a Phase 2 study, in combination with chemotherapy targeting patients with unresectable pleural mesothelioma, “chosen as first path to market,” Mr. Pantginis said. Enrollment in the trial has been completed and full data are expected in January 2020.

ONCOS-102 also is in a pilot Phase 1 study, in combination with Keytruda, in patients with advanced or unresectable melanoma refractory to PD-1 blockade, which is expected to produce important immune activation data, he said. An interim analysis is set for the first half of 2020.

Through several collaborations, ONCOS-102 is in two additional Phase 1 trials, in advanced peritoneal malignancies and in patients with castrate resistant prostate cancer.

Mr. Pantginis said the “lead driver for the shares, randomized Phase 2 data in mesothelioma, are expected in January 2020.”

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