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Endocyte stock doubles after key approval in Europe

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The stock price of Indiana-based Endocyte Inc. skyrocketed by as much as 130 percent Friday morning after the drug company got a thumbs up in Europe to market its first drug and received a new round of favorable clinical trial results.

The drug, vintafolide, received a positive opinion from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency to treat a small group of ovarian cancer patients who have already tried other treatments.

Assuming that opinion is followed by the European Commission, Endocyte and its partner Merck & Co. Inc. would begin selling the drug and its companion imaging agent later this year.

The drug, which will be sold by Merck, has received the brand name of Vynfinit while the imaging agent will have the brand Folcepri, and will be sold by Endocyte.

Also, West Lafayette-based Endocyte announced that vintafolide proved effective at treating non-small cell lung cancer in a Phase 2 trial. Patients receiving vintafolide and traditional chemotherapy agents had a 25-percent reduction in the risk of death or of their cancer worsening, compared with patients receiving only chemotherapy.

The study confirms that Endocyte is “a platform technology company, along the same lines as” ImmunoGen Inc. and Seattle Genetics Inc., wrote RBC Capital Markets analysts Adnan Butt, in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. He added that Endocyte could be a candidate for a merger or acquisition “with an attractive product, pipeline and technology.”

The dual announcements, both released before the markets opened Friday, ignited investors’ interest. They bid up Endocyte shares as high $33.70 apiece, compared with Thursday’s closing price of $14.64.

Endocyte’s technology was first developed at Purdue University by chemist Philip Low. Since some cancer tumors have an abundance of “receptors” that bind easily with the vitamin folate, Low figured a powerful chemotherapy drug could be combined with a folate molecule, so it would target only cancerous cells and not healthy cells.

That allows vintafolide to be more deadly to cancer, without serious side effects, than patients can tolerate with traditional chemotherapy agents.

“We’ve studied vintafolide in two of the toughest-to-treat cancers and seen positive results and we view this as a continuing validation of the drug and the platform,” CEO Ron Ellis said on a conference call Friday.

The company could be a candidate for a merger or acquisition “with an attractive product, pipeline and technology,” said Butt, the analyst, who didn’t mention any potential suitors by name. The study confirms that Endocyte is “a platform-technology company, along the same lines as” ImmunoGen Inc. and Seattle Genetics Inc. he said.

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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