Investors are getting understandably excited about a potentially massive breakthrough in the treatment of leukaemia. A new treatment called CTL019 is edging closer to regulatory approvals with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). CTL019 has been developed by Novartis, with Oxford University spin-out Oxford BioMedica (OXB) manufacturing a key component of the treatment.

CTL019 works by replacing genes in the white blood cells of leukaemia sufferers. This allows them to recognise and attack cancer cells.

The treatment has already attracted significant interest from the pharmaceutical industry. Swiss developer Novartis recognises the potentially blockbuster potential, with a target market estimated at more than $1bn a year.

Over the past week, the stock has jumped approximately 45% to 9p, valuingthe business at £278m.

In March, Shares flagged Oxford BioMedica’s lucrative potential before it submitted CTL019 for approval by the FDA.

Oxford BioMedica graph july

Rodman & Renshaw analyst Joseph Pantginis initiated research on the company on 28 June, flagging two key events for Oxford BioMedica. First is the FDA’s Advisory Committee meeting on 12 July. This is an independent panel that will review data on CTL019 to determine the safety and efficacy of the therapy. The outcome is important since the FDA more often than not follows the panel's recommendation.

After that comes the FDA's official decision, expected by 29 September 2017, Pantginis' second important date.

The analyst predicts a positive outcome for CTL019 FDA’s Advisory Committee. Positive news from both events are expected to spark further rallies in the share price, according to the analyst.

At the moment CTL019 development is focused on certain types of leukaemia in young people, typically suffering with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. But Novartis has plans to expand its research for the tratement into other areas, such as blood cancers.


Issue Date: 03 Jul 2017