AstraZeneca gained full oncology rights to monalizumab in October 2018
Shares of Innate Pharma (IPHA) are on the rise for a second straight session on Tuesday following an article in the journal Nature that opened up the possibility that the company and partner AstraZeneca (AZN) could explore the use of cancer drug monalizumab against COVID-19.
POTENTIAL USE OF CANCER DRUG FOR COVID-19: An article published in the journal Nature by a group of Chinese scientists opens up the possibility that Innate Pharma and partner AstraZeneca could explore the use of cancer drug monalizumab against COVID-19. The article, published on March 19, highlighted the involvement of the NKG2A receptor in patients infected with the virus, which is the same receptor targeted by monalizumab, according to Bloomberg, citing a research note by Gilbert Dupont analyst Jamila El Bougrini. AstraZeneca gained full oncology rights to monalizumab in October 2018.
According to the report in Nature, the number of certain immune cells, T lymphocytes and natural killer cells, decrease significantly in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection with increased expression of a receptor called NKG2A. However, in recovering patients, the numbers of NK and CD8+T cells were restored with reduced expression of NKG2A. "Taken together, these data highlight the importance of improving the immune response of NK cells and CTLs and avoiding exhaustion of cytotoxic lymphocytes at the early stage of SARSCoV-2 infection. Therefore, targeting NKG2A may prevent the functional exhaustion of cytotoxic lymphocytes and consequently contribute to virus elimination in the early stage of SRAS-CoV-2 infection," the scientists said.
PRICE ACTION: In Tuesday morning trading, shares of Innate Pharma trading in New York have jumped about 17% to $5.02, while AstraZeneca's stock has gained nearly 3% to $39.85.
Keywords: Coronavirus, virus, outbreak, Covid-19, pandemic, drug, research