The Cellectis CAR T treatment will be better than Novartis on price point. The Novartis therapy called tisagenlecleucel will be very expensive and this is a big problem as insurance companies will simply not cover it. This is why Cellectis stock got a sympathy bump on Friday after Novartis got an FDA Advisory Panel positive recommendation which should result in the first FDA approval of a CAR T treatment.
With Novartis’ method, each patient will require his or her own special batch of genetically engineered cells to be made. The process takes about 22 days and costs around $500,000.
Cellectis CAR T Treatment Can Be Mass Produced
Cellectis just submitted an Investigational New Drug application to the FDA for an off-the-shelf CAR-T candidate. If approved, the company will soon start Phase I trials with UCART123 in patients with acute myeloid leukemia and blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm.
Cellectis is working on a technology it calls universal CAR-T therapy or UCART. Cellectis has edited genes in these cells to make them like universal donor cells. They can work in the vast majority of patients. UCART can be manufactured in large scale using cells from a healthy donor instead of treatments relying on the patient’s own cells. This means that Cellectis can mass-produce a CAR-T therapy, making it cheaper to produce.
Cellectis CAR T Treatment Deals With Cytokine-release Syndrome
Cytokine-release syndrome (CRS) is a big problem for all CAR T treatments. A whopping 79% of trial patients experienced CRS, of which 21% was grade 3 and 27% was grade 4. CRS occurred within 3 days of treatment (range, 1-22) and lasted for a median of 8 days (range, 1-36). Fifty-nine percent of patients with CRS were admitted to the intensive care unit for a median of 8 days (range, 1-34).
Cellectis is working on preventing CRS by controlling the activity of these genetically modified cells. It’s designed an architecture where CAR T cells can be given the equivalent of an on-off switch. The switch can be a small-molecule drug that’s given to the patient to control the activity of the cells. The possibility of controlling CAR T activity is very desirable to mitigate potential unwanted risks such as CRS. To date, few strategies are available and mostly rely on suicide mechanisms that ultimately lead to a complete eradication of the engineered T-cells, thus resulting in a premature end of the treatment.
Cellectis CAR T treatment should not only be cheaper than Novartis’ $500,000 price tag, it should also be safer with the ability to control the immune system response.
CLLS reported negative earnings for the last year, which makes the Price/Earnings Ratio negative. CLLS has a Quick Ratio of 5.68. This indicates that CLLS is financially healthy and has no problem in meeting its short term obligations. CLLS has an Altman-Z score of 10.37. This indicates that CLLS is financially healthy and little risk of bankruptcy at the moment.
Like most clinical-stage biopharmaceutical companies, the fundamental data is poor on Cellectis.
Cellectis Stock Chart
Cellectis stock had a big Novartis sympathy move on Friday, July 14, 2017. This is a stock you do not want to chase. The chart looks like a horrible setup right now IMO. Price has spiked to the upside. It is better to buy on a consolidation rather than a spike.
While this stock is not a good buy right now, it’s worth putting on our watch list to stalk for the next consolidation.
Cellectis is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that harnesses the immune system to target and eradicate cancers. Unlike autologous CAR-T immunotherapies that require a custom immunotherapy product for each patient, Cellectis uses gene editing to create cost-effective, "off-the-shelf" (allogeneic) products (UCART) from healthy donors that can be immediately available for patients across all geographies. What’s more, for patients without enough T-cells for autologous CAR T therapy, Cellectis can create T-cells based on patients’ own T-cells.
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