COVID-19 is a new term, yet one that everyone knows. The coronavirus that causes the illness has spread rapidly, leading to a global pandemic the likes of nothing we’ve seen before. With closed schools, cancelled events, and more, the world is looking for options to put an end to the pandemic as quickly as possible. That’s where Nascent Biotech, Inc. (NBIO) comes in.
Nascent Biotech has been developing a human Monoclonal Antibody treatment for years. Targeting a wide range of cancers, the company has been overwhelmingly successful in the clinical setting. However, with evidence that the company’s technology may be effective in the treatment of coronavirus patients, NBIO is now exploring this indication with its lead candidate, Pritumumab, or simply PTB.
Let’s Get One Thing Straight
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been several companies that have announced that they are working on a treatment for the condition. So, the first thing that may come to mind is that the playing field here is a crowded one.
While there are plenty of companies out there trying to develop a treatment, there’s one thing that you need to understand. The vast majority of companies that say that they are working on a treatment have nothing tangible. Fewer of these companies have a potential treatment option that is clinic-ready. Even fewer have a potential treatment option that has been studied across various indications with a strong efficacy and safety record, and less than a handful are ready for pivotal trials surrounding their treatment option.
The NBIO Story
Founded in 2014, Nascent Bio has more than 6 years of experience in the development of therapeutic options. The company has been assessing the use of human antibodies and cytokines as potential treatment options for a wide range of diseases, including some of the most debilitating and difficult-to-treat cancers.
The flagship product candidate at NBIO, known as Pritumumab, is a natural human antibody. The fully natural human IgG antibody was derived using the company’s proprietary technology. Essentially, this proprietary technology gave the company the ability to define and extract the potential treatment option from a B-cell isolated from the tumor-draining lymph node of a patient with cervical cancer.
Just as important as the treatment itself is the target that it addresses. In the case of Pritumumab, the antibody targets ecto-domain vimentin. This target is expressed on the cell surface of a variety of cancers, including brain cancers and melanoma. However, there is no ecto-domain vimentin expression seen in healthy cells.
With such promising data surrounding Pritumumab, NBIO has made several achievements in recent years, including:
- orphan drug designations in brain and pancreatic cancers,
- FDA clearance to initiate Phase 1 clinical trials in brain cancer,
- provisional United States patents on its PTB antibody, and
- a 20-year Chinese license that offers 9% royalties upon commercial approval.
PTB Has Viral Applications
While Pritumumab is a promising treatment candidate in the oncology space, it’s not a one-trick-pony. In fact, there is evidence that the drug may be successfully applied in the treatment of viral infections. Of the most important in the range of viral infections that the treatment may be effective against is a family of viruses known as coronaviruses.
At this point, we’ve all heard of them. These viruses are zoonotic viruses, simply meaning that they are transferred from animals to humans. These are the viruses that caused outbreaks like MERS and SARS, and now the COVID-19 pandemic.
Importantly, third-party research suggests that Vimentin binding can occur on the surface of cells infected with the novel coronavirus. With Vimentin being the primary target of the lead candidate at NBIO, a door may be open for PTB as a treatment option in COVID-19 patients. In fact, Dr. Mark Glassy, Advisory Board Chairman at Nascent Bio, had the following to offer in a recent statement:
“We have known for a long time that the cell surface receptor for Nascent’s lead asset, Pritumumab, may be implicated in the processes by which viruses infect cells, and recent articles in the scientific literature about this have reinvigorated our attention to a possible treatment for those infected with the recent strain of coronavirus.”
The Market Opportunity Here Is Tremendous
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing life as we know it. Experiences in grocery stores have changed drastically, you can’t go to a barber to get a haircut, and if you’re lucky enough not to have lost your job, you’re working at the kitchen table as your children sit beside you doing their school work. There is no denying the fact that there is an urgent need among the medical community for a treatment for COVID-19 patients.
Nascent Biotech is now among the companies in the race to bring a potential treatment option to patients. This alone could be incredibly valuable in the relatively near term. Think about it; several catalysts are likely ahead as the FDA is fast tracking anything that has to do with COVID-19.
Once a treatment does become available, the demand for the treatment will likely be incredibly high. While there are no estimates as to the size of the COVID-19 treatment market, as there are no treatments currently available, I would venture to say that the market could generate hundreds of millions, or even billions of dollars per year for the company, or companies, that develop therapeutic options. This is a massive opportunity for any company in the race, but for a small company like NBIO, it’s one that’s hard to ignore.
Nonetheless, as you’ve likely heard before, COVID-19 will pass. It may take years, but it will pass, and when it does, the company isn’t going to be left with nothing. PTB has a target that opens the treatment to a broad range of cancers, all of which are known as epithelial cancers.
Epithelial cancers include lung, brain, colon, and six other commonly diagnosed cancers. In fact, epithelial cancers are the top 9 most diagnosed cancers in the world, with about 9 million diagnoses per year. Importantly, most of these cancers are at the center of massive markets that generate tens of billions of dollars in therapeutic sales per year each.
Should NBIO break into any of these standalone cancer markets, it would be a game changer. The stock would quickly fly from penny status to blue chip status, especially considering that it already has commercial manufacturing in place.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, Nascent Biotech may have a strong play in COVID-19, but with or without the pandemic, there’s a strong opportunity here. As such, this is a stock that should be watched closely!
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