Our biotech stock pick this week is Leap Therapeutics.
The company has the DKN-01 + KEYTRUDA update coming August 6, 2019. The DKN-01 + KEYTRUDA study is for esophagogastric adenocarcinoma.
Leap Therapeutics announced on July 25, 2019, that it will host a conference call on August 6, 2019, to provide a program update for DKN-01, a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting the Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) protein, a Wnt pathway modulator. DKN-01 is in clinical trials in patients with esophagogastric, hepatobiliary, gynecologic, and prostate cancers.
Leap Therapeutics is developing targeted and immuno-oncology therapeutics. Leap’s most advanced clinical candidate, DKN-01, is a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting the Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) protein, a Wnt pathway modulator. DKN-01 is in clinical trials in patients with esophagogastric, hepatobiliary, gynecologic, and prostate cancers.
Leap Therapeutics reports that Dickkopf-related protein 1 (DKK1) is a protein that regulates Wnt signaling pathways. Aberrant Wnt signaling is often implicated in cancer, enabling cancer cells to grow and divide and to suppress the immune system. Published data indicates that DKK1 is often overexpressed in many cancers and is associated with worse outcomes, more aggressive tumor growth, and suppression of immune anti-tumor responses.
Recent publications have demonstrated a role for DKK1 in maintaining an environment around a tumor that suppresses the immune system’s ability to clear the tumor and to prevent metastasis. DKK1 activates the suppressive effects of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), a type of white blood cell that can potently block the ability of other immune cells to attack a tumor. Additional data has shown that metastatic tumor cells with stem cell-like features avoid eradication by the immune system through overexpression of DKK1. DKK1 down-regulates natural killer (NK) cell activating ligands on tumor cells allowing them to remain invisible and evade the immune system.
Therefore Leap Therapeutics is attempting to block DKK1 activity to stimulate an immune mediated anti-tumor response. Inhibition of DKK1 has demonstrated anti-tumor activity in preclinical models. Leap Therapeutics is testing to see if inhibiting DKK1 can generate both a direct anti-tumor effect, as well as generate an immune anti-tumor response.
Leap Therapeutics stock is a high risk speculative play. The company does not meet the stringent requirements for inclusion in the GST Portfolio. Nevertheless, a short term swing trade may be setting up here.
Disclosure: I do not hold any position in Leap Therapeutics stock.