NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The selloff in immunotherapy stocks is purely market-based and does not reflect the stunning advances in the cancer fighting space, said Dr. Andre Choulika, CEO of Cellectis (CLLS) - Get Cellectis SA Sponsored ADR Report.
"I am super optimistic about what's happening in the space and there are a lot of things coming in the near future," said Choulika, adding that his company is bringing a new technology through gene editing that will allow it to make "off-the-shelf T-cells" to battle cancer.
Immunotherapy is treatment that uses your body's own immune system to help fight cancer. A T-cell belongs to a group of white blood cells called lymphocytes that protect the body from infection. Gene editing is a type of genome engineering that relies mainly on the use of engineered nucleases and makes it possible to modify the genome of the T cell with a Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) to give it new properties that can fight cancerous cells.
Said differently, the engineered T cell can be transformed into an allogeneic product, so it can resist existing cancer treatments or even overcome checkpoint inhibition.
Cellectis listed its shares at $41.50 each on the Nasdaq in March. The price of the offering was determined by where the stock was trading on the Alternet market of the Euronext Paris exchange where it has been trading since 2007.
Currently competing in the so-called immunotherapy space are companies including Kite Pharma (KITE) , Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) , Bluebird Bio (BLUE) - Get bluebird bio, Inc. Report and Celgene (CELG) - Get Celgene Corporation Report. Choulika said the differences between Cellectis and its competitors are that his method ensures an adequate amount of T cells, and offers patients immediate treatments at a lower cost.
As for the timeline for clinical data being released, Choulika said the company is entering trials by the end of this year. He said Cellectis should have intermediate clinical data at some point next year. "It would be a tremendous paradigm change in the space," said Choulika.