2 Natural-Killer Cell Therapy Oncology Companies Investors Should Watch

Zinger Key Points
  • BofA analysts says Fate's pipeline of NK assets have shown robust response rates and a manageable safety profile
  • The analyst says Century's pipeline of cell therapies utilize a set of proprietary gene edits, which may overcome questions of durability of both the cells and their effect.

Natural-killer cell therapy is one of the most recent paradigms in cancer treatment, and two prominent companies working on this new technology are Fate Therapeutics Inc FATE and Century Therapeutics Inc IPSC, an analyst at BofA Securities said in a note on Tuesday.

The Biopharma Analyst: Tazeen Ahmad has a Buy rating and $112 price target on Fate shares.
The analyst rates Century a Buy with a $34 price target.

The Biopharma Thesis:

Fate's To-Date Progress Is Encouraging: Fate's pipeline of NK assets are currently in the clinic for liquid tumors, Ahmad said in a note. These assets have shown robust response rates and a manageable safety profile, he added.

A recent clinical update from the 2021 ASH conference vouches for the redosing potential of NK cells, the analyst said. The company plans to focus on moving their NK cell therapy into earlier lines, in combination with monoclonal antibodies and in the recurring and relapsed post-CAR-T setting, Ahmad noted.

Fate's FT516 and FT596 have comparable safety and potential for use in various tumor profiles, with repeat dosing the standard for their therapies going forward, the analyst added.

"We remain highly encouraged by FATE's progress to-date, its product provides multiple options for pts who are not candidates for or are refractory to CAR-T and have potential in earlier lines," BofA said.

Furthermore, NK therapies can serve as potential bridging therapies to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in liquid tumors, the investment bank added.

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Century's Bristol-Myers Squibb Partnership Increases Upside Potential: Century's pipeline of cell therapies is also derived from iPSC engineering technology, Ahmad said. The biopharma's products utilize a set of proprietary gene edits, which may help overcome the questions of durability of both the cells and their effect – two things that are front of mind for investors, the analyst indicated.

Century is set to enter the clinic with its lead program CNTY-101 targeting CD-19 for B Cell malignancies in the second-half of 2022, BofA noted. Adding that initial safety data is expected in the first-half of 2023.

A recent partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company BMY for up to 4 programs brings additional validation to the platform and potential upside, the firm said.

The Biopharma Price Action: At last check, Fate shares were edging down 1.87% to $38.93, and Century stock was retreating 0.08% to $12.37.

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Photo: Courtesy of National Human Genome  on Flickr

Posted In: BofA SecuritiesTazeen AhmadAnalyst ColorBiotechReiterationSmall CapAnalyst RatingsGeneral