Shares of Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) went down by 3% early Tuesday morning but then recovered by 3.7%. By noon, the stock again fell by 1.5%. The reason behind this is its product candidate JCAR015, a treatment for leukemia. The biopharmaceutical company released encouraging clinical data regarding the drug.
The Seattle-based company has been developing chimeric antigen receptor technology, a line of therapies that would teach certain white blood cells how to identify and kill cancer cells.
Juno is developing cell-based cancer immunotherapies based on chimeric antigen receptor and high-affinity T cell receptor technologies to genetically engineer T cells to recognize and kill cancer. Juno is developing multiple cell-based product candidates to treat a variety of B-cell malignancies as well as solid tumors. Several product candidates have shown compelling clinical responses in clinical trials in refractory leukemia and lymphoma conducted to date. Juno’s long-term aim is to leverage its cell-based platform to develop new product candidates that address a broader range of cancers and human diseases.
Juno Therapeutics saw promising results for the drug in patents with a type of leukemia where the bone marrow creates too many lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell.
Ninety percent of patients with minimal disease and 77% of patients with an advanced form of the disease saw a “complete response,” the company said.
“The ongoing efficacy and duration of response for a large percentage of patients, specifically those who do not go on to stem cell transplant, continues to be impressive,” Chief Medical Officer Mark Gilbert said in a statement.
The commercialization of the product line would have a major impact on cancer immunotherapy because the cancer cells would be recognized by proteins on the surface of the cells that are specific to it.
Juno’s CAR and TCR technologies genetically engineer T cells to recognize and kill cancer cells. Juno’s CAR T cell technology inserts a gene for a particular CAR into the T cell, enabling it to recognize cancer cells based on the expression of a specific protein located on the cell surface. Juno’s TCR technology provides the T cells with a specific T cell receptor to recognize protein fragments derived from either the surface or inside the cell. When either type of engineered T cell engages the target protein on the cancer cell, it initiates a cell-killing response against the cancer cell. JCAR015 is an investigational product candidate and its safety and efficacy have not been established.
Despite its unpredictable fluctuation today, the stock still shows promise. The company has been working on various projects and has showed signs of success this month. The investors would be advised to wait a bit more and study this company’s future plans before investing here. Despite being a risky choice, it does promise to bear high returns.