Shares of Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO) were up 12.72% yesterday to $33.42 at the end of a session that saw over 5 million shares changing hands.
Investors hopped on to Juno’s bandwagon after rival drugmaker Kite Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:KITE) said Tuesday that its CAR-T therapy demonstrated a 39% response rate, including a 33% complete response rate, in patients with an aggressive form of lymphoma.
In Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T therapy, an individual’s immune cells are genetically re-engineered to combat cancer.
Juno is also developing much the same therapy: “The use of human T cells as therapeutics to re-engage the immune system has the potential to revolutionize the way cancer is treated,” Juno says on its website. “Juno’s technologies genetically engineer a patient’s own T cells to recognize and kill cancer cells. These cellular therapies have the potential to be effective regardless of the type of previous treatments patients have experienced and may avoid the long-term side effects associated with current treatments.”
Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO) soars alongside Kite
However, Juno’s development program is said to be trailing Kite by nearly a year after a July setback in which 3 patients died in a trial.
Nevertheless, Kite’s progress has raised the prospects for Juno as well, even though Kite may win the distinction of being the first drugmaker to obtain USFDA approval for CAR-T.
Analysts at Leerink have described Kite’s trial as incrementally positive for Juno, according to TheStreet.
Juno has a 10-year partnership in place with Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG), which paid approximately $1 billion last year for the right to sell Juno’s cancer and auto-immune therapies globally except the US, where commercial rights will remain with Juno.
Last month Juno reported Q2 EPS of $-0.64 which missed analysts’ expectations by $-0.23. Quarterly revenue of $27.6 million beat estimates by $13.34 million and was up 121.5% year on year. It has a current market cap of $3.54 billion.