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Iovance Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: IOVA) is a biopharmaceutical company that develops cancer therapy drugs. The company's research works towards their long term goal of making T-cell based immunotherapies a treatment option for patients who have tumors and other types of blood cancers. If clinical trials are successful, these drugs could help a countless number of patients by bringing a very effective and promising treatment option to the table. The technique is still somewhat new, but early trial results have shown efficacy rates that are promising.
What is Iovance Biotherapeutics (IOVA)?
Iovance Bioptherapeuticsis an early-stage biopharma company that has developed several cancer therapy drugs currently undergoing clinical trials. The company is headquartered in San Franciso and also has additional research facilities in New York and Florida. Iovance Biotherapeutics was founded in 2007 under the name Genesis Biopharma. The company underwent mergers and several other structural changes in its early years. Eventually, the company changed its name to Iovance Biotherapeutics in 2017, and then IPOed that same year. Currently, the company employs just over 200 people, the majority of which are researchers with medical backgrounds. The company is led by CEO and President Dr. Maria Fardis. Dr. Fardis has substantial experience in leading biotherapeutic companies in the early stages, and her portfolio of work includes leading Acerta Pharma, a clinical-stage biopharma company that was eventually acquired by AstraZeneca.
Why does Iovance Biotherapeutics (IOVA) Matter?
Iovance Biotherapeutics currently has several drugs in the development pipeline that look to be highly promising treatment options. The research is centred around T cell-based immunotherapies, which take patients' own Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and inject them into the tumor directly. While the body produces TILs early on in an attempt to fight off cancer, the effectiveness of the body's natural response is usually minimal because cancer cells can quickly adapt to evade detection by the TILs and surpress response. While TILs has been researched extensively, the company has expanded on the research with their own proprietary process. The process involves the extraction of TIL cells from a patient's body, followed by ex vivo (outside the body) growth of TIL cells by the billions. By both using the patient's own T-cells and drastically increasing the number of cells, the suppressive ability of cancer cells is greatly diminished. After infusion, the T-cells reach the tumor tissue and attack the tumor directly. Iovance's manufacturing process for TIL cells, which includes a variety of proprietary compositions and methods of treatment, has been granted a total of 20 patents.
Iovance Biotherapeutics (IOVA) Prospects
Currently, a total of four clinical trials are ongoing, each using the TIL based methodology developed by Iovance Biotherapeutics to determine its efficacy against four different types of cancers. If the clinical trials prove ultimately successful, the prospects for Iovance are highly promising. The size of the cancer drug market is estimated to reach $176 billion by 2025.
The treatments currently undergoing clinical trials are meant to target metastatic melanoma, carcinoma of the head and neck and cervical cancer. The company also is hoping that if the TIL technology passes trials that the applicability could also lead to uses for other tumor types, including ovarian, breast, bladder, colorectal. In addition to additional applications, the company is also looking towards the future and investing into next-generation technology that will make treatments more potent, lower cost, easier to produce, and require fewer TILs. With these efficiencies,
If the clinical trials are successful, Iovance Biotherapeutics would be the first company to gain approval for T-cell therapy targeting solid tumors. In anticipation of positive results, the company has scaled up its production capabilities, building its first manufacturing facility in Philadelphia in 2019. The facility is expected to reach completion in 2021 and it is estimated that commercial manufacturing will begin in 2022.
As mentioned, CEO and President Dr. Maria Fardis has decades of experience and a wealth of knowledge and connections in the biotherapeutics space. With this leadership, it is possible that the company is able to secure a partner or be acquired by a larger company if Iovance Biotherapeutics products get closer to reaching the market. It is estimated that each new drug needs $2.6 billion in funding before finally reaching consumers, and it is likely that Iovance Biotherapeutics would need help down the road to scale up. Over the last decade between 2010 and 2020, a total of $1.6 trillion was spent on mergers and acquisitions in the biopharmaceutical space. So-called “bolt-on” acquisitions, which involve a small company that has conducted research on highly promising drugs with clinical applications being acquired by a large company that brings in the ability to realize commercial opportunities, are becoming increasingly common.
Where to Buy Iovance Biotherapeutics (IOVA)
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Despite being a young company, Iovance Biotherapeutics is already at a point where they have several highly promising drugs in the development pipeline. If their clinical trials are successful are found to be successful in the coming years, the company is well-positioned to chart a path forward for bringing their life-changing drugs to the market. With strong leadership at the helm, the company will have the ability to keep all their options open as they continue to grow. Whether the path forward involves an acquisition, partnership, or continuing on their own, the proprietary TIL methodology developed by Iovance Biotherapeutics is likely to become an important part of the future of oncology and cancer research.
Baggio has been an investor in the technology space for over half a decade. He uses the perspectives gained from his work experience in the private, public, and non-profit sectors to guide his investment strategy, with a specific interest in the potential of emerging disruptive technologies.