ImmunoGen, Inc. Waits for Data

By Markets Fool.com

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Image source: Getty Images.

ImmunoGen(NASDAQ: IMGN)reported earnings on Friday, but except for its cash runway, the biotech's financials aren't nearly as important as plans for its pipeline.

ImmunoGen results: The only number that really matters

Metric

Sept. 30, 2016

June 30, 2016

QOQ Decline

Cash and equivalents

$196 million

$245 million

(20%)

QOQ = quarter over quarter. Data source: Company press release.

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What happened with ImmunoGen this quarter?

  • At the end of September, management decided to reduce its workforce by 17%, focusing on mirvetuximab soravtansine, IMGN779, and IMGN632 while partneringits non-core B-cell lymphoma program to reduce its cash burn. Management thinks the new focus will push its cash runway through its interim peak at phase 3 data for mirvetuximab soravtansine, extending into mid-2018.
  • That phase 3 trial, dubbed FORWARD I, for mirvetuximab soravtansine inplatinum-resistant ovarian cancer is on track to begin before the end of the year.
  • ImmunoGen expects to end the year with $165 million and $170 million in the bank, implying a cash burn rate of $26 million to $31 million, but that rate will increase in coming quarters as it ramps up its spending on clinical trials.
  • Its phase 2 trial, FORWARD II, which looks at mirvetuximab soravtansine in combination with other treatments, is still enrolling patients.

What management had to say

On the potential to sell its non-core assets, ImmunoGen CEO Mark Enyedy said, "We have some preliminary conversations ongoing at this point, and there's not much else to say on that point." Clearly, generating some non-dilutive cash would be useful, but investors are just going to have to wait.

Much has been made about ImmunoGen having enough cash to get through the interim peak at the FORWARD I trial data, but Anna Berkenblit, ImmunoGen's chief medical officer, noted that "it's just a futility analysis because progression free survivals is the primary end point. We do not have an early stop for efficacy." Knowing that the trial won't end early will remove some risk from ImmunoGen, but the interim look doesn't offer a huge upside since it can't be stopped early for efficacy.

Looking forward

While investors won't get data from FORWARD I for some time, ImmunoGen expects to start reporting data from FORWARD II next year, perhaps at the American Society of Clinical Research (ASCO) meeting in June. If mirvetuximab soravtansine works well in combination with currently approved drugs, such as Roche's Avastin and Merck'sKeytruda, investors should have more confidence that mirvetuximab soravtansine will work on its own in later-stage patients who have failed other treatments -- the patients in the FORWARD I trial.

Before then, at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting next month, investors will get a look at preclinical data for IMGN779 and IMGN632. IMGN779 is already being tested in a phase 1 trial in patients with acute myeloid leukemia. A phase 1 trial for IMGN632 is scheduled to start in 2017.

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Brian Orelli has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends ImmunoGen. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.