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Janux Therapeutics surges on upbeat trial data for prostate cancer therapy

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Updates shares in paragraphs 2, adds analyst comments in paragraphs 7 and 8

By Pratik Jain

Feb 27 (Reuters) -Janux Therapeutics shares JANX.O more than doubled in value on Tuesday after the drug developer reported encouraging interim early-stage data for its experimental therapy to treat an advanced form of prostate cancer.

Its shares hit a record high of $41.22, after declining 18.53% in 2023 and were on track to add more than $1.2 billion to its market capitalization, if gains hold.

The candidate, JANX007, reduced prostate-specific (PSA) antigen levels in a majority of the 23 patients who received the drug, the company said late on Monday, adding that deeper reductions were observed at higher doses.

PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland and used as a biomarker to diagnose and follow prostate cancer.

TD Cowen analyst Marc Frahm said the data establishes that Janux's prostate cancer therapy, JANX007, has multi-billion-dollar potential.

Janux also reported interim early-stage data for another experimental therapy, JANX008, in advanced or metastatic solid tumors patients known to express high levels of a protein that helps cancer cells grow.

H.C. Wainwright analyst Swayampakula Ramakanth said both drugs showed encouraging anti-tumor efficacy and the treatments could be the "best-in-class" if they continue to be successful in future studies.

"While the data was from a small set of patients, it was encouraging to note that both products were relatively safe with no patient experiencing higher than grade 2 CRS...," Ramakanth said.

Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), was also observed in patients in both the studies, but Janux said it was mild and temporary, and was quickly managed with treatment.

CRS is an immune system over-response and a major toxicity issue that has led to discontinuation of multiple T-cell engager clinical candidates.

Janux, which develops tumor-activated immunotherapies to treat cancer, debuted on the Nasdaq in 2021.

Reporting by Pratik Jain in Benagluru


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