Adding Novocure‘s (NVCR) medical device to standard drugs improved survival for late-stage lung cancer patients, leading NVCR stock to skyrocket Thursday.
The company sells a device that uses electrical fields at specific frequencies to interrupt the rapid division of cancer cells. This prevents abnormal cancer cells from growing into tumors.
Novocure tested its tumor treating fields on top of standard drugs. The combination led to a statistically significant improvement in overall survival for stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer patients.
These patients are also resistant to specific chemotherapies. It’s been six years since a regimen in Phase 3 testing led to a significant improvement in overall survival for these patients, Novocure Executive Chairman William Doyle said in a written statement.
“We are also pleased by the profound performance of the (tumor treating fields) together with immunotherapy, which has the potential to meaningfully extend patient survival beyond what was previously thought possible,” he said.
On today’s stock market, NVCR stock surged 68.5% to close at 118.81.
NVCR Stock: Questions Remain
Novocure is planning to file for approval with the Food and Drug Administration in the second half of the year. It also expects to file for a CE Mark in Europe at the same time.
But Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Kumar kept his underperform rating on NVCR stock.
The study design was changed in early 2021 based on recommendations from an independent data monitoring committee, Kumar said in a report. The committee cut patient enrollment roughly in half and shortened the study to 12 months from 18 months. There have been questions since then about what prompted those changes.
Further, he noted Novocure’s technology is in a unique position. Immunotherapy has become the standard of care in cancer treatment, outperforming chemotherapy. Novocure’s device has shown superiority over immunotherapy, but not chemotherapy. It will be important to examine how Novocure dealt with this phenomenon in its enrollment, he said.
Kumar has a 42 price target on NVCR stock. He expects the lung cancer market to be worth under $700 million for Novocure.
Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.
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