Imugene Limited (ASX: IMU) jumped 18 per cent on ASX following the completion of oncolytic virus CF33 and Vaxinia Pty Ltd acquisition on 18th November 2019.
IMU closed the trading session at $0.053 with ~259 million shares in rotation on 18th November, significantly higher than annual average volume of ~15 million (as per ASX). The company’s stock has generated a considerable return of ~211.76 per cent in the last six months.
IMU is currently trading at $0.049 on 19th November (2:08 PM AEST). Moreover, the stock has delivered an outstanding return of 130 per cent in November so far, during which the company released the following key announcements:
- Completion of oncolytic virus acquisition;
- Receipt of $4.13 million R&D Tax incentive; and
- AGM and Investor presentations.
Imugene is an Australia-based clinical-stage immuno-oncology firm that develops multiple novel immunotherapies to activate the cancer patients’ immune system to treat and destroy tumours. The company has a strong product pipeline that comprises recently acquired oncolytic virus (CF33) and a range of B-cell immunotherapies.
Imugene Completes Oncolytic Virus Acquisition
Following the receipt of shareholders’ approval at the recently held Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), Imugene completed the acquisition of the exclusive City of Hope (COH) licence to the oncolytic virus CF33 as well as Vaxinia Pty Ltd, that offers IMU the opportunity to enter the OV field at a relatively advanced development stage
In July this year, Imugene signed a binding agreement to obtain 100 per cent of the shares held in Vaxinia, whose major shareholder is the company’s Executive Chairman, Mr Paul Hopper.
All the following resolutions were unanimously carried on show of hands at the EGM:
- Approval of allotment and issue of Consideration Shares to unrelated Vaxinia Shareholders;
- Approval of allotment and issue of Consideration Shares to related parties: Paul Hopper and persons and entities related to him; and
- Approval of acquisition of Vaxinia Pty Ltd, a related party of Imugene.
More About Oncolytic Virus CF33
CF33 is a chimeric vaccinia virus with significant historical reference as it was an active ingredient of the vaccine that eradicated smallpox. It was the first oncolytic virus developed by Professor Yuman Fong at COH Cancer Center in Los Angeles, California, that demonstrated viral oncolysis in the laboratory in 1922.
In a competitive market where large pharma firms are actively looking for oncolytic virotherapy technologies, CF33 is a promising next gen oncolytic virus. It comes with long patent life, compelling pre-clinical efficacy and safety and robust intellectual property, and is in the following two forms:
- armed with an immune checkpoint inhibitor inserted in the virus - “CheckVacc”
- unarmed form - “Vaxinia”
Both are genetically modified viruses that attack, replicate and eventually kill cancer cells whilst leaving healthy cells unharmed.
CF33’s two separate Phase 1 clinical trials to test both CheckVacc and Vaxinia constructs are likely to be completed in 2020.
Recently, City of Hope researchers, Dr Fong and his colleague Dr Yanghee Woo, have also received a United States Department of Defence grant of USD 564,173 for research into CF33 and its possible role in the fight against gastric cancer.
Over the next 12 months, the company intends to achieve the following inflexion points in relation to the CF33 development:
The completion of the acquisition transaction has marked a significant milestone for Imugene, which is on track to progress further with the clinical development of CF33. With the acquisition, the key members of the Vaxinia team will be joining IMU that have significant experience in the oncolytic virus market.
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