Even after enrolling several patients into its study of IDO inhibitor epacadostat, Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY) has declined to release the response rate data. The study was evaluating the combination treatment of epacadostat with Merck & Co., Inc.(NYSE:MRK) checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda. Incyte’s decision is unusual and it is already causing mixed reactions and conclusions. Apparently, the company had the response rate data for another three lung cancer patients signed up in the epacadostat-Keytruda study but not for IDO.
Speculations over grooming of and managing clinical data
Incyte’s actions may have re-ignited a wave of speculations, which cited biotech companies manipulating clinical data to please investors. The abstract submitted to ASCO by Incyte had 43 patients evaluable for safety. 40 of them were evaluable for response because they had been followed for a long enough time.
Apparently, Incyte did not disclose the efficacy data for the other three, a situation that has raised several concerns. However, Incyte Chief Medical Officer Steve Stein explains, “A decision was taken to base the efficacy analysis on the more mature data sets. Accordingly, we followed the same patients from abstract to presentation for efficacy.”
IDO is the new target for the next wave of cancer research
Apparently, investors still have faith in Incyte, a small firm from Wilmington, Delaware that carries a $27 billion market cap. On the other hand, epacadostat has potential as a cancer immunotherapy blockbuster.
In other news, IDO has caught the attention of many researchers becoming the talk of the town among doctors and investors. The enzyme can break down tryptophan, starving T-cells while making them cease working. Worf has it that Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY), and Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:RHHBY) are also developing their own IDO inhibitor.
Incyte’s chief executive officer, Herve Hoppenot cites the importance of companies working together to fight cancer even though it could mean the beginning of another long journey. Nonetheless, the first results presented at the ASCO meeting in Chicago looked promising and meaningful to a number of patients. Meanwhile, Incyte’s stock closed at $131.50 witnessing an increase of $2.22 or 1.72%.