The pharmaceutical industry is a rapidly evolving one. As companies continue to innovate and create new therapeutic options, survival rate and quality of life continues to improve for patients. On the forefront of this evolution, we find Genprex (NASDAQ: GNPX).
What Is Genprex?
Genprex is a clinical-stage gene therapy company. While the company is a relatively small one, the market potential of their lead product candidate, which we will speak to later, is incredible.
The candidate, known as Oncopre is a potentially life-changing immunogene therapy. The company’s innovative technology administers cancer fighting genes by encapsulating them into nanoscale hollow spheres that it calls nanovesicles. From there, these nanovesicles are injected and taken up by the tumor cells where they express proteins that are missing or found in low quantities.
Oncoprex is designed to target non-small cell lung cancer and may prove to be effective in other indications in future studies.
About Rodney Varner
Rodney Varner is the Chairman and CEO of GNPX. Before moving into the world of biotechnology, Varner had a thriving career as a corporate lawyer. Nonetheless, the jump wasn’t just fueled by the idea that he could create an effective cancer treatment. Mr. Varner had a personal vendetta against the ailment.
In fact, at one point in time, Mr. Varner had his own battle with cancer, a battle which he won and hopes to help others do the same. As a corporate lawyer working with several biotech startups, including Introgen Therapeutics, Rodney had a unique opportunity to learn through the science these startups had been performing.
It didn’t take long for Varner to become a believer in the science that would ultimately bring about the lead candidate at GNPX, Oncoprex. When Introgen Therapeutics fell victim to the financial crisis of 2008 and filed bankruptcy, Varner saw opportunity.
Genprex Was Born
Soon Mr. Varner formed a group including leaders in the industry that would eventually become Genprex. The group included the former CEO and other members of the management team at Introgen Therapeutics.
This proved to be a smart move because management of the new group already had working knowledge of the science and efforts that went into the lead product. Moreover, considering the bankrupt condition of Introgen Therapeutics at the time, the group was easily able to acquire the IP and technology that made Oncoprex such a promising candidate.
Where Oncoprex Is Today
Since the inception of Genprex, it’s management team of leading industry experts has executed well on the goal of bringing Oncoprex through the development process. In fact, the product is currently in Phase 2 development as a potential combination treatment for non-small cell lung cancer.
Data to date is promising. In fact, both preclinical and clinical data suggest that the treatment may be an effective option as a monotherapy or as a combination therapy with targeted small molecule therapies in the fight against lung cancer.
The data to date suggests that Oncoprex helps to facilitate the action of therapies like erlotinib and gefitinib, allowing these treatments to potentially become effective in patient populations where efficacy was a concern.
Should all go well in the Phase 2 clinical study, GNPX will be well on its way to a pivotal trial in one of the most valuable oncology indications today.
Genprex is also working to develop Oncoprex as a potential combination therapy with checkpoint inhibitors. Checkpoint inhibitors block proteins that prevent the body’s own immune system from fighting cancer tumors. Early preclinical data suggests that Oncoprex may act as a means to facilitate action in these treatments as well.
When considering any clinical-stage biotechnology company, it’s important to consider the market potential. In general, I am concerned when a company has all of its eggs in one basket. For GNPX, this is largely the case with Oncoprex. However, when considering the data, combined with the incredible market potential that comes with Oncoprex, this concern fades.
Non-small cell lung cancers account for about 85% of the total lung cancer market. According to GBI Research, the market for this type of lung cancer may grow to be worth $7.9 billion annually by next year! Should Genprex execute with regard to bringing Oncoprex to the market, it could take a reasonable share of this annual potential, but it doesn’t need to in order to produce value.
At the moment, GNPX trades with a market cap of around $23 million. If the company were to receive market approval and tap into just 1% of the market, it would generate about $79 million per year. Considering the market cap, even tapping into this small percentage of the market would create meaningful value for investors.
What Makes Oncoprex Unique?
One big factor in the treatment of cancer is toxicity. However, Oncoprex has been proven to have fewer side effects and less toxicity than other lung cancer drugs. Moreover, the TUSC2 gene is hidden by what can be called a cholesterol nanoparticle, giving it the ability to specifically target cancer cells, further reducing risk of toxicity to healthy tissue.
There’s a huge advantage to this type of therapy. Instead of viral delivery systems that have to be injected directly into tumors, these nanoparticles can be injected into the patient’s bloodstream. From there, they will find their way to the tumor with little to no effect on the tissues that it encounters on the way.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is that Genprex has the potential to become a blockbuster. After winning the battle against cancer, Rodney Varner and his team of experts went to war. Their ultimate goal is to find realistic solutions to help the masses overcome the ailment that their leader personally overcame.
As a result, the company now has Oncoprex, an asset that has shown tremendous promise in an indication that represents market potential that’s hard to ignore. Should the data continue to show such promise, a pivotal trial could be just around the corner, meaning that there could be several catalystic events ahead, combined with compelling long-term potential. As such, this is a stock that’s well worth considering!
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Disclosure – CNA Finance, parent company to Alpha Stock News, has a monetary relationship with an investor relations firm that represents Veritas Farms.