Fortress Biotech FBIO Stock News

Fortress Biotech (NASDAQ: FBIO) is headed up in the market this morning, trading on gains of around 15% premarket. The gains come after the company announced that it has entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement surrounding the treatment of cancer. Here’s what’s happening:

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FBIO Stock Gains On Licensing Agreement

In the press release, Fortress Biotech said that it signed the agreement with Columbia University. The agreement surrounds the development of novel oligonucleotides for the treatment of genetically driven cancers.

The company said that the proprietary platform produces oligomers, also known as ONCOlogues. These ONCOLogues are capable of binding gene sequences 1,000 times more effectively than complementary native DNA.

There are several benefits to ONCOlogues. Not only are they highly sensitive to a single base pair mismatch, they are resistant to degradation and use a proprietary delivery sequence to enter cells.

In the release, FBIO said that these ONCOlogues target genetically driven cancers caused by mutations without impacting wild-type DNA sequences. As such, it is believed that toxicity will be limited.

Moreover, as a result of their unique method of action, it is believed that ONCOlogues will be effective in targeting mutations that have historically be considered by the medical community to be un-druggable.

To date, proof-of-concept has been established in a pre-clinical setting across various cancers. The most advanced program using this potential treatment option targets KRAS mutation G12D. Not only is this mutation believed to be un-druggable, it plays a significant role in various cancers, including pancreatic and colorectal.

Moreover, it is believed that these same ONCOlogues may prove to be effective in the treatment of severe symptoms of COVID-19.

In a statement, Lindsay A. Rosenwald, M.D., Chairman, President and CEO at FBIO, had the following to offer:

We are excited to work with the excellent scientists and physicians at Columbia University again. Our last joint effort with Columbia University led to the formation of our partner company, Caelum Biosciences, Inc. (“Caelum”). Since formation, Caelum has raised approximately $60 million in development funding from a number of sources, with additional amounts available upon the satisfaction of certain milestones and will be initiating two registration clinical trials in the next several weeks. Building upon our success with Caelum, we are grateful to Columbia University for entrusting us to develop this highly innovative technology using oligonucleotides to target genetically driven cancers and coronaviruses. Using a targeted genetic approach to treat cancer has become essential to limiting toxicity and treating patients effectively. This technology has the potential to target mutations that have previously been considered un-druggable. Oncogenuity will aggressively pursue the development of ONCOlogues to ultimately provide patients with new, safe and effective treatment options.

This Is Big News

Whether or not ONCOlogues prove to be effective in the COVID-19 indication, the licensing agreement is very big news. After-all, there are several mutations that are believed to be un-druggable. The prognosis for these patients is very poor, leading to a large unmet medical need.

If ONCOlogues do prove effective in these mutations, Fortress Biotech is sitting on a figurative goldmine. Think about it, pancreatic and colorectal cancers are only two of several targets. However, these are two multi-billion dollar drug markets.

Should FBIO enter either one of these markets, the opportunity here is incredible, making this a stock that’s hard to ignore.

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