By Johan Albrecht
Despite being a nano-cap firm in the biotechnology industry with a $17.5 million market cap, OncoSec Medical Inc. (PINK:ONCS) has been on my radar as a potential blockbuster investment opportunity. I say this because of the company’s consistent efforts in new research and development. In terms of numbers alone, as of October 31, 2012, the company spent $1.2 million on research and development activities, compared to $515,587 in the same quarter last year, which is nearly a 130% increase.
OncoSec Medical (ONCS) has developed new delivery technologies called advanced stage ImmunoPulse DNA-based immunotherapy and NeoPulse therapy to treat solid tumor cells, while significantly reducing the amount of drugs required for administration. These treatments have been proven to enhance the patients quality of life with no safety concerns. This technology is targeted at benefiting approximately 50 million people all over the world suffering from melanoma. Additionally, the technology is expected to reduce the occurrence of side effects of regular cancer treatments that are most commonly experienced by cancer patients.
Since the company’s key focus is on skin cancer, it is in the process of conducting clinical trials for its therapies. A few of these are discussed below:
- Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare but deadly disease, which has a 40% mortality rate. OncoSec Medical is conducting “OMS ElectroImmunotherapy—ImmunoPulse” to deliver DNA IL-12 in patients with local and metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (OMS-I110) in cooperation with the University of Washington. The therapy is in its second phase trials.
- Melanoma, with around 70,000 cases being registered every year, is another type of a skin cancer. To treat this, OncoSec Medical is conducting “ImmunoPulse” to deliver DNA IL-12 in patients with late-stage metastatic melanoma (OMS-I100) along with the University of California, San Francisco. This therapy is in its second trial phase. Around 53% of patients suffering from this disease, have given a positive response to this treatment. This trial will enroll approximately 25 patients with advanced-stage, cutaneous, in-transit malignant melanoma.
- Cutaneous T-cell lymphomais anothertype of blood cancer that is difficult to treat and has not responded well to other regular therapies in the long run. Again, “ImmunoPulse therapy” has proven to be the best way to treat this disease and provide relief in the long run. This therapy is also in its second phase. This phase involves treating 27 patients suffering from this disease.
Interestingly, with numerous immunotherapeutic companies bringing in new technologies, successful treatments and approvals from FDA, I strongly believe that stock prices of all these biotech companies are on the verge of jumping. Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG), on February 8th, 2013, received approval from the FDA, for its new immunomodulatory drug, pomalidomide, designed to treat multiple myeloma. This is expected to boost the company’s revenues by 66% in 2013, which were around $4 billion in 2012.
Onyx Pharmaceutical’s (NASDAQ:ONXX) multiple myeloma drug, Kyprolis, which was granted FDA approval earlier in 2012, is also doing well. Vical Incorporated (NASDAQ:VICL) is developing an immunotherapy drug, Allovectin, to treat melanoma in the late stages. Currently, it is under clinical reviewing process in phase three. This treatment is targeted at killing cancer cells through an allogeneic anti-tumor response.
While I believe the market is strong and will continue to grow, I do believe OncoSec’s technology offers substantially more marketability than the rest and it should, at the least, be able to capture a leadership share in the market.
The stock has been trading at $0.20 per share and has settled in a tight trading range, establishing a safe entry point for new investors. I am confident that OncoSec Medical (ONCS) is not going to remain a penny stock for long.