Endocyte Inc. (ECYT) recently announced that its oncology candidate, EC0652, achieved key objectives in a phase 0 study. Endocyte is developing the candidate as a treatment of patients suffering from prostate cancer. EC0652 is a diagnostic imaging agent that targets prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA), a protein expressed on cancer cells which originates from the prostate as well as on tumor neovasculature.
Endocyte also has plans to advance its corresponding therapeutic agent, EC1069. EC1069 is a proprietary PSMA-targeted small molecule drug conjugate (SMDC) linked with the anti-cancer drug tubulysin. Endocyte plans to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for EC1069 by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, the company's focus remains on its oncology candidate, vintafolide (MK-8109/EC145). Last year, the company submitted a marketing authorization application (MAA) for the candidate in the EU. Endocyte is also looking for EU approval of an investigational companion diagnostic imaging agent etarfolatide (EC20) along with vintafolide. Both the candidates were granted orphan drug status in the EU.
Endocyte and its partner, Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK), are looking to get vintafolide approved as a treatment of patients suffering from folate-receptor positive platinum-resistant ovarian cancer in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD).
We remind investors that the oncology market is extremely competitive with the presence of companies like Roche Holding (RHHBY).
We expect investor focus to remain on the European Medicine Agency's decision regarding the approval of vintafolide and etarfolatide.
Endocyte carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (VRX), currently looks more attractive in the pharma sector with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).