Biotech Stocks Fate, Constellation Surge On Cancer Treatment Test Results

Fate Therapeutics (FATE) rocketed to a record high Monday on the promise it could rival biotech stocks Gilead Sciences (GILD) and Novartis (NVS) with a blood cancer treatment.




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The news came out of the American Society of Hematology meeting, where biotech stock Constellation Pharmaceuticals (CNST) said more than two-thirds of patients responded to its bone marrow cancer treatment.

Further, fellow biotech stocks Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA) and Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP) reported promising results for their CRISPR gene-edited treatments.

On the stock market today, Fate stock catapulted 37.8% to 83.77. Constellation shares soared 34.1% to 30.36. Intellia stock zipped up 7.3% to 46.59. Crispr shares rose 1.5% to 149.72.

Biotech Stock Targets CAR-T

Fate is working on an off-the-shelf version of costly cancer treatments from Gilead and Novartis known as CAR-T drugs. These drugs reprogram cells from a sick patient to fight cancer. But Fate is working on a similar cancer treatment that uses donor cells.

Biotech stock Fate tested its treatment in one heavily pretreated patient with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. After the first treatment, the patient partially responded. That response deepened following a second treatment.

The biotech stock also unveiled test results for a second cancer treatment in patients with B-cell lymphoma. In total, Fate evaluated three patients. All three responded, including two that had a complete response to the drug.

Bone Marrow Cancer Treatment

Constellation tested its drug in patients with myelofibrosis, a rare form of bone marrow cancer that often results in an enlarged spleen.

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In total, the biotech stock studied a regimen using its drug in 63 never-before-treated patients. After 24 weeks of treatment, more than two-thirds of those patients achieved at least a 35% reduction in spleen volume. At the median, the spleen volume was reduced by half.

Of 60 patients that could be evaluated, 57% showed at least a 50% reduction in all their symptoms after 24 weeks of treatment.

Gene-Edited Treatments

Biotech stocks Intellia and Crispr use a method of gene editing called CRISPR to make treatments for blood diseases.

Intellia said its cancer treatment showed promise in mice with acute leukemias. Its drug targets a T-cell receptor overly expressed in acute myeloid leukemia, or AML.

Crispr and partner Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) reported updated results for their beta thalassemia and sickle cell disease treatment, CTX001. Both are blood diseases.

Beta thalassemia patients traditionally need frequent blood transfusions. At three to 18 months after treatment, all seven remained transfusion free, Crispr said in a news release.

Sickle cell disease patients often experience painful attacks called vaso-occlusive crises. At three to 15 months after treatment, all three of the patients tested still hadn’t experienced any of the painful side effect of the disease.

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.

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