I am interested in the area of individualized cancer therapy. Means they take your tumor and tag it so that your immune system will activate and kill any remaining cells like that they can find. This will eliminate whatever metestatic colonies from the origional tumor as well as anything at the origional site not removed during surgery.The two companies I have heard of that are working on this idea are AGEN and AVXT.AVXT is starting marketing of it's product for melonoma in Australia and is in phase 3 with promising preliminary results with one product. AGEN is working on a product which will eventially be tested out for multiple other types of cancers.Both companies products are reportedly well tolerated without bad side effects- this makes them naturals to use as adjuncts to other therapies to increase survival odds. (In the case on AGEN's product M-VAX, the survival rate increased to 55% with no side effects vs standard treatment survival rate of 33% with side effects)Personalized medicine seems intuitively to be adventageous. Anyone else have thoughts on this?Kathy
Kathy, these approaches may be very efficacious. Being patient specific, they may be very costly and present bottlenecks in production that a less individual approach may avoid. You may want to look at Cell Genesys in addition to the two companies you have mentioned. They are very well capitalized, still a ten percent owner of Abgenix, I believe, which they spun off some time ago and which is a testament to Cell Genesys' business and scientific acumen. My understanding is that Cell Genesys engineers the gene for granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GMCSF) into tumor cells using two approaches, one patient specific, the other not. These provoke the patient's immune system to attack the tumor. They have a number of things in phase 2 clinical trials and plan to initiate a phase 3 trial mid-2003 for their GVAX prostate cancer vaccine. In addition, they have upwards of 200 gene therapy patents. Personally, I think this is one company with legs.
I was riding up the lift at Alta the other day and met an investor. He prefers private companies but occassionally dables in public ones. Genitope Corp (GTOP) is one. It just went IPO and is sitting on $37M in cash. It makes $0 revenue and burns through cash at $2M/mth. That means they can cover the next 18 months cost on their phase 3 trial for patient-specific cancer immunotherapy. The only thing I know about biotech is that I should own a few shares. I'd appreciate any feedback you might have after reviewing this company. If it sounds good we can start a GTOP Discussion Board.
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