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In The Spotlight: Adaptimmune Therapeutics


Adaptimmune Therapeutics PLC (ADAP) has returned 97% this year, while the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF index, which tracks the investment results of biotechnology and pharmaceutical equities listed on the NASDAQ, is up only 17% year-to-date.

Adaptimmune is focused on developing engineered T cell therapies. Before, we go into the company details, here's an overview of T cells and T cell receptors.

T cells are a type of white blood cells, which play an important role in the body's immune system and help fight cancer. T cells have 'T cell receptors' on their surface through which they recognize foreign substances (antigens) such as bacteria, a virus or tumor cell, and destroy them.

Since cancer proteins appear very similar to other proteins within the body, naturally occurring T-cell receptors find it difficult to recognize them. Adaptimmune's technology aims to enhance the affinity of T-cell receptors, so that they can recognize and bind to cancer cells and as a result can stimulate the immune system to target and destroy cancer cells. The Company's T-cell engineering technology is known as 'SPEAR T-cells'.


The Company is developing engineered T cell therapies targeting tumor antigens namely, MAGE-A10, MAGE-A4, AFP and NY-ESO.

MAGE-A4 SPEAR T-cell therapy, MAGE-A10 SPEAR T-cell therapy, and AFP SPEAR T-cell therapy programs are wholly-owned by Adaptimmune.

-- The MAGE-A4 SPEAR T-cell therapy is under a phase I, open label, dose escalation study in certain patients with urothelial (bladder) cancers, melanoma, head and neck cancer, ovarian cancer, NSCLC, esophageal cancer and gastric cancers.

-- The MAGE-A10 TCR therapy is under phase I testing in certain patients with lung cancer, bladder, melanoma and head and neck cancers.

-- The AFP SPEAR T-cell therapy is under a phase I study in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

As recently as September of 2017, GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) exercised its option to license the right to research, develop, and commercialize Adaptimmune's NY-ESO SPEAR T-cell therapy program.

NY-ESO SPEAR T-cell is under phase 1/2 clinical trials in patients with solid tumors and haematological malignancies, including synovial sarcoma, myxoid round cell liposarcoma, multiple myeloma, melanoma, NSCLC and ovarian cancer.

Big Deal...

Adaptimmune entered into an initial partnership deal worth about $350 million with GlaxoSmithKline in 2014. This deal was expanded in February 2016, entitling Adaptimmune to receive potential development milestone payment of approximately $500 million.

On September 7, 2017, GlaxoSmithKline exercised its option to exclusively license the right to research, develop, and commercialize Adaptimmune's NY-ESO SPEAR T-cell therapy program. Both the companies are working to ensure a smooth transition of the NY-ESO SPEAR T-cell development program to GSK.

Adaptimmune stands to receive up to $61 million from GSK over the course of the transition period, which is expected to be completed over the coming months. This option exercise by GSK paves way for extending Adaptimmune's cash runway into 2020.

At The ASH...

At the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting on December 11, 2017, the Company will be presenting updated data from its completed pilot study of NY-ESO SPEAR T-cell therapy in all 25 multiple myeloma patients in the setting of autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT). The data cut-off for the results to be presented at the ASH is August 16, 2017.

The study results based on data cut-off through July 2017 are as follows:

* Overall response rate at day 100 was 76%; 12 very good partial response; 6 partial response.
* At year 1, 13 of the 25 patients patients were progression free (52%) of which 11 were responders.
* Three patients remain disease progression-free at 39, 56, and 61 months post T-cell infusion.
* Median progression free survival (PFS) was about 13 months.
* Eleven of 25 patients (44%) are alive, and median survival was about 35 months.
* Autologous GvHD (24%) was reported in 6 patients; all resolved with corticosteroids and supportive therapy.
* No fatal adverse events have been reported.

(As of September 30, 2017)

Accumulated deficit: $204.37 million
Total cash on hand: $231.9 million
*Shares Outstanding: 93.69 million
*% Held by Insiders: 0.30%
*% Held by Institutions: 61.50%

(*Data sourced from Yahoo Finance and Thomson Reuters)

ADAP has thus far hit a low of $3.76 and a high of $9.29 in the last 1 year. The stock closed Thursday's trading at $7.98, up 2.05%.

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