Hookipa Pharma (HOOK) Stock Price: Why It Increased Over 2.9% Today

By Amit Chowdhry ● Jun 6, 2022
  • The stock price of Hookipa Pharma Inc (NASDAQ: HOOK) increased by over 2.9% pre-market today. This is why.

The stock price of Hookipa Pharma Inc (NASDAQ: HOOK) increased by over 2.9% pre-market today. Investors are responding positively to HOOKIPA Pharma announcing positive Phase 1 results from its HB-200 program evaluating single-vector HB-201 and alternating 2-vector HB-202/HB-201 in advanced Human Papillomavirus 16-positive (HPV16+) head and neck cancer patients. 

HB-200 was generally well tolerated, rapidly induced a high magnitude of tumor-specific T cells and showed early anti-tumor activity in these difficult-to-treat patients. And the company also announced the recommended Phase 2 dose for alternating 2-vector HB-202/HB-201, which showed superior immune and tumor response compared to single-vector HB-201. The data was presented in a poster presentation (abstract #2517) at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

HB-200 Phase 1 results (NCT04180215)

68 patients with advanced HPV16+ cancers were treated in the Phase 1 trial as of March 31, 2022. 54 patients had advanced HPV16+ head and neck cancers with a median of three prior therapies (range of 1-11), including a checkpoint inhibitor regimen in 50 of the 54. Of these 68 patients, 5 were continuing on treatment as of the cut-off date.

Safety

Phase 1 results showed HB-200 was generally well tolerated, with comparable safety between the single-vector HB-201 and alternating 2-vector HB-202/HB-201. And the most common treatment-related side effects were flu-like symptoms, with only 8.8 percent of patients experiencing treatment-related side effects rated grade 3 or higher. This favorable tolerability profile in heavily pre-treated patients highlights the potential for combination with checkpoint inhibitors and other agents.

Anti-tumor activity

The poster presented at ASCO provided updated anti-tumor activity on 43 Phase 1 patients with HPV16+ HNSCC who received therapy intravenously every three weeks for the first 5 doses and every 6 weeks thereafter, which is the route and frequency selected for further evaluation in Phase 2 cohorts. And the 43 patients were comprised of 20 persons who received single-vector HB-201 and 23 who received alternating 2-vector HB-202/HB-201.

While promising anti-tumor activity was shown in both groups, alternating 2-vector HB-202/HB-201 showed superior tumor response with 56 percent of treated patients showing target lesion shrinkage compared to 38 percent of HB-201 recipients. And in addition, decreases in visceral lesions were predominantly seen in patients who received 2-vector therapy: 59 percent of patients on HB-202/HB-201 compared to 18 percent on HB-201. Further, HB-202/HB-201 demonstrated an 80 percent disease control rate, which compares favorably to historical disease control rates achieved by pembrolizumab in recurrent/metastatic HNSCC patients, specifically 35% overall and 40 percent in the HPV+ subset, based on peer-reviewed published data.

T cell data

While both HB-201 and alternating 2-vector HB-202/HB-201 were highly immunogenic, HB-202/HB-201 induced superior immune response with 32% of recipients achieving tumor-specific T cell levels greater than 5 percent of the circulating T cell pool (7% of HB-201 recipients achieved this threshold). And the tumor specific T cells are essential in eradicating cancer cells.

KEY QUOTES:

“We’re pleased to report the positive Phase 1 data on our novel arenaviral immunotherapies for advanced head and neck cancers, which highlight the ability of our platform technology to induce a high magnitude of potent, tumor-specific T cell responses. We’re encouraged by the superior immune response generated by alternating 2-vector immunotherapy, which resulted in an 80 percent disease control rate in patients who have failed several previous regimens. These results help focus our efforts as we move HB-202/HB-201 at the recommended Phase 2 dose into the Phase 2 portion of the trial. The findings on our alternating 2-vector technology also help inform our development plans across our oncology portfolio and especially for our HB-300 program in prostate cancer.”

— Joern Aldag, Chief Executive Officer at HOOKIPA

“Patients with advanced head and neck cancers have limited options. It’s encouraging to see a novel arenaviral immunotherapy demonstrate strong T cell response and anti-tumor activity in this difficult-to-treat population. I look forward to seeing future results from the Phase 2 portion in HPV16+ head and neck cancers, as well as in other types of cancer.”

— Siqing Fu, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics and principal investigator at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, who presented the data at the ASCO meeting

Disclaimer: This content is intended for informational purposes. Before making any investment, you should do your own analysis.