Top Trends in the Cancer Immunotherapy Sector

- July 10th, 2016

Loncar Investments founder, independent biotech investor and analyst Brad Loncar comments on the biggest trends in the cancer immunotherapy space.

Cancer immunotherapy is a growing segment of the biotech market. The Investing News Network caught up Brad Loncar, of the Loncar Cancer Immunotherapy Index (INDEXNYSEGIS: LCINDX), to hear his views on where the market is headed in the next several years. Click here to read the first part of our interview, or read on to learn about the top cancer immunotherapy trends.

Top trends in cancer immunotherapy

Loncar explains that “one important trend to be aware of is the different generation of immunotherapy drugs that are in development.” The first generation is called checkpoint inhibitors and these are the products that are on the market today. The most famous ones are Merck’s (NYSE:MRK) Keytruda, Bristol Myers-Squibb’s (NYSE:BMY) Opdivo and Roche’s (VTX:ROG). “Not only are these therapies being used individually,” says Loncar, “but researchers are trying to learn how to use them in combination with chemotherapy and other immunotherapies.”
Then you have second generation immunotherapy approaches in development: CAR-T, bi-specific antibodies, cancer vaccines, and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, to name a few. Some well known companies are Juno Therapeutics (NASDAQ:JUNO), Kite Pharma (NASDAQ:KITE), Lion Biotechnologies (NASDAQ:LBIO), and Xencor (NASDAQ:XNCR).

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Increasingly prominent industry

Another important trend to be aware of is how much investment and attention is being focused on this space given how promising it is. According to Loncar, “in government, you have Vice President Biden leading the Cancer Moonshot Initiative. The moonshot is meant to take advantage of the inflection point the technology is sitting on and speed that up.” Meanwhile, “in philanthropy, you have recently seen Sean Parker establish a $250 million immunotherapy foundation and Mayor Bloomberg and Sidney Kimmel donated $125 million to establish an immunotherapy program at Johns Hopkins, for example.” Then, “in the public sector you have companies like the ones our product highlights trying to deliver the final drugs to patients.” The market is drawing more and more attention from all angles, making it an increasingly attractive option for investors of all kinds.

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Market as a whole

All told, “2016 has been a very volatile year in the biotechnology space. We have seen issues like politics and global macro factors move stocks around a lot. While it has been a choppy and frustrating year, I think it is important to always have a long term outlook.” Loncar’s outlook is hopeful: “the scientific innovation that is happening right now is truly special and this will play out over many years. I’m optimistic that innovative new therapies will have a positive impact on diseases like cancer over time.”
Once again, click here to read the first part of this interview, where Loncar goes into the details of the Loncar Cancer Immunotherapy Index (INDEXNYSEGIS: LCINDX) and corresponding Loncar Cancer Immunotherapy ETF (NASDAQ:CNCR). And don’t forget to follow us on twitter to stay up to date with the latest news in the biotech sector.

Securities Disclosure: I, Morag McGreevey, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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