Catch Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PPHM) Shares on This Pullback

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Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PPHM) shares dipped 2.60% on Monday to $0.637 and were flat in after-hours trading. Share prices have been trading in a 52-week range of $0.28 to $0.77. The company has a market cap of $184.75 million at 297.71 million shares outstanding.

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company that operates through two segments: Peregrine, which is engaged in the research and development of monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer, and Avid, which is engaged in providing contract manufacturing services for third party customers on a fee-for-service basis while also supporting its internal drug development efforts.

Bavituximab, which is its lead immunotherapy candidate, is a monoclonal antibody that targets and binds to phosphatidylserine (PS), a immunosuppressive molecule that is usually located inside the membrane of healthy cells, but then flips and becomes exposed on the outside of cells in the tumor microenvironment, causing the tumor to evade immune detection. The company’s subsidiary is Avid Bioservices, Inc. (Avid). Avid provides integrated current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) services from cell line development to commercial biomanufacturing.

In a press release, Peregrine Pharmaceuticals announced the presentation of positive new data from the company’s ongoing collaboration with researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This will highlight the phosphatidylserine (PS)-targeting antibodies to enhance the anti-tumor activity of adoptive T cell transfer therapy without triggering any off-target toxicities.

While adoptive T cell transfer remains one of the most exciting new approaches to treating cancer, to date the toxicity associated with the treatment has limited its potential.  We are encouraged that these study results showed that the combination of anti-PS and adoptive T cell treatment led to enhanced anti-tumor effect without any evidence of additional off-target side effects,” said Taha Merghoub, Ph.D., co-director of the Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory at MSK.  “We believe that these findings may support potential applications for this combination in solid tumors in the future.”

Cancer immunotherapy thought-leaders, Taha Merghoub, Ph.D. and Jedd D. Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D., evaluated and compared the anti-tumor activity and off-target toxicities of adoptive T cell transfer therapy in combination with either PS-targeting antibodies. Additional study results demonstrated that the PS-targeting antibodies decreased tumor-induced immunosuppression as evidenced by a decrease in immunosuppressive regulatory T cells (Tregs) and M2 macrophages, consistent with Peregrine Pharmaceuticals belief that bavituximab may modulate the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and enhance the activity of immunotherapy agents.

These study results provide further support for our belief that anti-PS agents such as bavituximab can play an important role as part of combination cancer treatments.  This is directly tied to the agents’ ability to modulate the tumor microenvironment to combat the immunosuppression that limits the activity of CAR T and immunotherapies,” said Joseph Shan, vice president of clinical and regulatory affairs at Peregrine Pharmaceuticals.

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