Humanigen Inc (NASDAQ:HGEN) (FRA:0KB2) has announced a tie-up with life sciences services group EVERSANA, firing the starting gun on the commercial launch of its drug lenzilumab to treat hospitalized coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, if the candidate is granted emergency use authorization (EUA).
On receipt of the authorization from regulator, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Humanigen would have immediate access to EVERSANA’s services, which include marketing, medical information, and market access.
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As previously reported, Lenzilumab has shown positive trial results and has been tested on its ability to tackle the so-called 'cytokine storm', an overactive immune system response to the virus that precedes severe lung dysfunction and acute respiratory problems that is seen in COVID-19 patients. The drug is currently in two phase 3 trials.
"EVERSANA shares our tireless commitment to patients,” said Dr Cameron Durrant, the chief executive officer of Humanigen in a statement.
"We’ve matched our dedication to research and development in COVID-19 with a proven commercialization partner to ensure lenzilumab will reach patients quickly and efficiently following a potential EUA.”
EVERSANA currently serves more than 500 organizations, including innovative start-ups and established pharma groups.
Its CEO Jim Lang added: "While EVERSANA’s model can be applied to any therapy or indication, we have a moral obligation to help COVID-19 patients in distress, knowing that even with the promise of vaccines, there will be many patients who contract this virus and desperately need a treatment if hospitalized and hypoxic.”
Humanigen is a clinical-stage biopharma company, which is developing its portfolio of clinical and pre-clinical therapies for the treatment of cancers and infectious diseases via its novel, cutting-edge GM-CSF neutralization and gene-knockout platforms.
Roth rates stock a 'Buy'
Following the news, broker Roth rated Humanigen shares a 'Buy' and issued a 12 month price target of $25 (current price: around $17).
Analyst Tony Butler noted that the terms of Humanigen's agreement with EVERSANA were not disclosed, but highlighted other recent similar EVERSANA partnerships, including one struck with biopharma MacroGenics (NASDAQ:MGNX) for the commercialization of the latter's margetuximab for previously treated metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer in combination with chemotherapy.
Under the terms of that five year deal, MacroGenics books sales for margetuximab, while EVERSANA and MacroGenics equally share in funding EVERSANA’s commercialization expenses.
"...in exchange for co-funding these expenses, EVERSANA will earn future revenue share payments, which are capped at 125 percent of EVERSANA’s cumulative service fees," noted Butler.
Humanigen shares advanced over 9% in New York on the day to $18.87.
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