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Nachricht vom 11.07.2018 | 11:24

Immutep Limited (IMM-AU): Targeting the LAG-3 immune checkpoint

goetzpartners securities Limited

11-Jul-2018 / 10:24 GMT/BST


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Immutep Limited (IMM-AU): Targeting the LAG-3 immune checkpoint
Recommendation: OUTPERFORM
Target Price: AUD 0.078
Current Price: AUD 0.036 (COB on 10th July 2018)

KEY TAKEAWAY

We initiate coverage on Immutep with an OUTPERFORM recommendation and a target price ("TP") of A$0.078 per share. Immutep develops therapeutics targeting the Lymphocyte Activation Gene-3 ("LAG-3") immune checkpoint ("IC") involved in T cell regulation. IC inhibitors ("ICIs") targeting CTLA-4 and PD-1 / L1 have revolutionised cancer care owing to their ability to elicit durable responses in advanced cancers. The current focus is on combination therapy to increase response rates. Immutep's lead asset eftilagimod alpha (IMP321, "efti") has shown encouraging efficacy in metastatic melanoma and metastatic breast cancer ("mBC"). We forecast launch in 2020E for mBC based on an ongoing Phase IIb trial expected to read out in 2019E and estimate $2.4bn in peak sales across indications, with Immutep expected to sign a licensing deal.

I-O has revolutionised cancer care, but most patients do not benefit

Immuno-oncology focuses on activating the immune system to fight cancer. ICIs have shown the greatest clinical results, as reflected in responses of up to 10 years in 20% - 50% of patients across advanced tumours. This has led to their rapid adoption since the launch of Yervoy (ipilimumab) in 2011, with total ICI sales reaching $10.5bn in 2017. The race is on to find novel mechanisms of action for combination therapy to augment response rates without increasing toxicity.

Leader in LAG-3, potentially the third pillar in checkpoint immunotherapy

LAG-3 is an IC that has been shown to have both stimulatory and inhibitory roles, making it suitable for therapeutic applications in cancer and autoimmune diseases. The search for the third pillar in the ICI toolbox has led to increased activity in the LAG-3 space. Immutep has the broadest LAG-3 targeted pipeline across the biopharma industry and is the only company exploring the stimulatory activity of this checkpoint pathway (most companies focus on inhibitory mAbs).

Eftilagimod alpha activates antigen-presenting cells to fight cancer

Efti is a LAG-3Ig fusion protein that drives dendritic cell maturation and activation by binding to MHC class II. It is being developed for combination therapy with chemotherapy or Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in solid tumours. The Phase IIb AIPAC trial in mBC of efti + paclitaxel is expected to read out in 2019E, and a Phase II basket trial in metastatic lung and head & neck cancers exploring efti + pembro starts in Q4/2019E. The latter is based on encouraging proof-of-concept data from a Phase I trial in advanced melanoma (TACTI-mel).

SoTP valuation suggests share price largely justified by efti in mBC alone

Our TP for Immutep is based on a sum-of-the-parts valuation that includes NPVs for efti in metastatic breast, lung and head & neck cancer - together accounting for >90% of our fair value, net cash at YE/2018E, and research deals with Novartis and GSK for earlier-stage assets.

Kind regards,


Brigitte de Lima, PhD, CFA | Analyst

goetzpartners Healthcare Research Team | Research Team

goetzpartners securities Limited

The Stanley Building, 7 Pancras Square, London, N1C 4AG, England, UK.

T +44 (0) 203 859 7725 | healthcareresearch@goetzpartners.com / brigitte.delima@goetzpartners.com

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