This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Epizyme First Look at Blood Cancer Drug Encourages

Epizyme (EPZM - Get Report) reported the first clinical data on its blood cancer pipeline candidate EPZ-6438 at the ASH Lymphoma Biology Conference last week. The drug is designed to block a specific enzyme, EZH2, which when mutated, is involved in development of certain cancers, including forms of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL). Epizyme's technology platform focuses on developing drugs to regulate a class of cancer-causing enzymes known as histone methyltransferases (HMTs), of which EZH2 is just one.  

The first look at EPZ-6438 came from an early-stage (phase I) study, but was encouraging. Two of the four NHL patients reported a partial tumor response, a third patient had stable disease. The responses came from relatively low doses of EPZ-6438 and the safety profile was clean enough to allow Epizyme to continue the study using higher doses of the drug. Ideally, higher doses of EPZ-6438 should lead to more enzyme inhibition and stronger and higher frequency tumor responses. Epizyme should have results from the higher-dose cohorts of the EPZ-6438 ready to report later in the year. 

The one potential hiccup in the EPZ-6438 data presented last week was that the partial tumor responses reported came in NHL patients with "wild type" EZH2 enzyme. The stable disease patient had mutated EZH2. Ideally, the responses would have been reversed because it's mutated EZH2 thought to largely drive tumor growth. Epizyme says EPZ-6438 is capable of blocking wild-type and mutant EZH2, and there is some research suggesting both forms of the enzyme play a role in cancer growth. If this is true, seeing responses in NHL patients with wild-type EZH2 isn't surprising or concerning. However, as Epizyme enrolls more patients in EPZ-6438 studies, it will be important to see more robust responses correlating with mutated EZH2 status. This is something for investors to think about and watch going forward. 

On the other hand, if EPZ-6438 is found to be effective in patients with wild-type EZH2 tumors as well -- perhaps as part of a combination regimen with existing NHL drugs -- the commercial market opportunity might expand significantly. 

Outside of EPZ-6438, Epizyme is developing a drug with Celgene (CELG) and has three other drug candidates still in preclinical testing which are part of a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

Sobek is long Epizmye and Celgene.

David Sobek has been writing on biotech for a number of years through various outlets with a general focus on small cap oncology and antibiotics companies. He received his PhD in political science from Pennsylvania State University in 2003 and a BA in international relations from The College of William and Mary in 1997.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
EPZM $20.10 0.00%
AAPL $113.29 0.00%
FB $91.01 0.00%
GOOG $630.38 0.00%
TSLA $248.48 0.00%

Markets

Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,643.01 -11.76 -0.07%
S&P 500 1,988.87 +1.21 0.06%
NASDAQ 4,828.3250 +15.6170 0.32%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs