NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Incyte (INCY) was the focus of much buzz heading into tonight's American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2014 research abstract reveal. Investors are particularly interested in two clinical studies presenting at this year's meeting: A melanoma study of Incyte's immuno-oncology candidate INCB024360 ('360) combined with Bristol-Myers Squibb's (BMY) Yervoy; and a mid-stage study of Jakafi in advanced pancreatic cancer.
Here's a recap of both studies, based on the preliminary data contained in the abstracts released by ASCO.
Abstract No. 3010: Preliminary results from a phase 1/2 study of INCB024360 combined with ipilimumab (ipi) in patients (pts) with melanoma.
Eight melanoma patients were treated with a 25 mg, twice-daily dose of '360 plus Yervoy. Three patients (38%) had a confirmed partial response with duration lasting 179, 148 and greater than 127 days (ongoing.) Another three patients had stable disease for an overall disease control rate of 75%. No progression-free survival or overall survival data are reported in the abstract.
The abstract describes (and Incyte previously disclosed) a second cohort of melanoma patients treated with 300 mg of '360, which was stopped because of significant increases in liver enzymes.
At the 25 mg dose of '360, one patient reported significantly elevated ALT levels, but this patient also had extensive liver metastases. One patient each discontinued from the study due to colitis and salivary amylase elevation.
Additional patients were enrolled into the study and treated with a 50 mg dose of '360. Those data will be presented at the ASCO meeting and we were not disclosed in the abstract.
This is a small and early study but important because of the excitement centered on drugs which manipulate the immune system to identify and kill cancer cells. Bristol's Yervoy was one of the first immuno-oncology drugs approved. Scientists hope for even better results from combinations of immune system-stimulating cancer drugs. AstraZeneca (AZN) and Incyte announced a collaboration earlier today to combine the former's PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor with '360 in a study of multiple tumor types.