Further support for bemcentinib’s broad potential from preclinical data at AACR

Lighthouse | 1 April 2019

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  • Three posters on BerGenBio’s selective Axl inhibitor bemcentinib were presented at AACR, with data from preclinical studies on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and pancreatic cancer cells.
  • The first poster showed that bemcentinib was able to enhance lymphocyte-mediated cytotoxicity of NSCLC, and it provided details of how tumour resistance to cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) and Natural Killer (NK) is mediated by a novel Axl mechanism.
  • The second poster presented data indicating that Axl plays a key role in mediating tumour plasticity and progression, metastasis, and resistance to gemcitabine in pancreatic models.
  • The third poster suggests that bemcentinib could act synergistically with DNA-Damage Repair (DDR) inhibitors. Specifically, in a NSCLC model, bemcentinib induced in a dose-dependent manner activation of checkpoints, thereby arresting cell proliferation. It was also found that bemcentinib acted synergistically with DDR targeting compounds, VX-970 and AZD6738 (ATR inhibitors).
  • BerGenBio is currently preparing for late stage studies in NSCLC in combination with a PD1/PD-L1 inhibitor having reported very promising data from the first stage of a Phase II study in NSCLC in combination with pembrolizumab (see Outlook note in January 2019) and several immuno-oncology combination trials are ongoing in additional indications. There is also an investigator-led study in pancreatic cancer in combincation with chemotherapy being conducted by University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, US.

Trinity Delta view: These new data lend further support to the broad potential of bemcentinib in different settings and its proposed mode of action in reversing immune suppression and therapy resistance. The results from the preclinical studies with NSCLC models provide further scientific rationale for combining bemcentinib with PD1/PD-L1 inhibitors, as well as opening-up a potential new setting for bemcentinib in combination with DDR agents. Similarly, the data from the pancreatic cancer studies lend support to the use of bemcentinib in this indication.

Our valuation of BerGenBio is NOK3,143m ($370m) or NOK57.45/share. The next significant catalysts for the shares are expected to be overall survival data from the first stage of the Phase II study in NSCLC with pembrolizumab and the results from the trial’s second stage, both of which should be reported in Q219.


1 April 2019

Market CapNOK1,404m
Primary exchangeOslo
Company CodeBGBIO
Corporate clientYes

Company description

BerGenBio is a clinical-stage, drug development company based in Bergen, Norway and Oxford, UK. It is developing innovative anti-cancer therapies that act on the promising Axl signalling pathway. The lead oncology compound, bemcentinib, is in a number of Phase II trials.


Mick Cooper PhD
+44 (0) 20 3637 5042

Lala Gregorek
+44 (0) 20 3637 5043


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