Why Advaxis Stock Skyrocketed 13.8% Today

What happened

After orchestrating a 15-1 reverse stock split to meet Nasdaq listing requirements last week, Advaxis (NASDAQ: ADXS) saw its shares rally 13.8% by 3:15 p.m. EDT following updated results from a trial evaluating its ADXS-PSA in prostate cancer.

So what

The phase 1/2 study is evaluating ADXS-PSA alongside Merck's (NYSE: MRK) multibillion-dollar blockbuster Keytruda in heavily pre-treated patients with progressive and refractory metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer.

The two-part trial includes an ADXS-PSA monotherapy arm and a combination arm. The combination data reported today showed that using the two therapies together resulted in a median overall survival rate of 21.1 months. The study's author, Dr. Mark N. Stein, said the data "compare favorably to standard-of-care therapy and to study results from similar unselected patient populations with bone-predominant disease."

The results were presented on Monday as part of a poster discussion at this year's American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting.

Now what

ADXS-PSA is an immuno-oncology therapy that uses a listeria vaccine to deliver antigens to cancer cells to spark an immune response. The use of ADXS-PSA with Keytruda may help the immune system better spot and destroy cancer cells because Keytruda inhibits cancer's ability to hijack a mechanism that prevents the immune system from attacking it.

More research is necessary to confirm ADXS-PSA's effectiveness and safety, but the results are encouraging, particularly since Advaxis investors have endured a steady decline in share price since 2017. Given the amount of work left to be done and the company's high-risk track record, investors might be best served waiting until later-stage data is reported before jumping in and buying shares.

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Todd Campbell has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. His clients may have positions in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.