Jounce’s JTX-2011 has promising mechanism but experts highlight earliness of evidence to back clinical efficacy; combination elicits higher efficacy potential

24 Apr 2018

Jounce Therapeutics’ (NASDAQ:JNCE) JTX-2011 mechanism as an inducible T-cell co-stimulator (ICOS) agonist holds promise to spur immune responses in gastric and breast cancer, experts said. However, the absence of validated clinical data draws pause on forecasting Phase I/II trial success, they noted.

While JTX-2011 is being studied as a monotherapy and in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (NYSE:BMY) Opdivo (nivolumab), experts highlighted the greater potential for the combination to produce sufficient and significant responses but were cautious about the resultant side-effect profile.

The ICONIC Phase I/II (NCT02904226) data for gastric cancer and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) of JTX-2011 in both indications and JTX-2011/Opdivo in breast cancer is expected at this year's ASCO meeting, from 1-4 June in Chicago, as per analysts. Additionally, safety data for all tested tumor types from the study is also expected.

Analysts find preclinical data on the biomarker-directed approach encouraging and are expecting the Phase I/II data to de-risk JTX-2011. Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) partnered with Jounce in July 2017 for an option on JTX-2011 and up to four other early-stage programs, with Jounce receiving USD 225m upfront, a USD 36m equity investment and the ability to receive milestone payments of USD 2.3bn. Celgene has the additional option to equally share a checkpoint immuno-oncology program.

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