How Two Biotechs Fell On Cancer Partnerships With Bristol-Myers | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Array BioPharma (ARRY) and Advaxis (ADXS) both toppled nearly 4% Tuesday after the small-cap biotechs announced partnerships with pharma leader Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY).

But those stocks fell in line with the broader market which saw IBD’s 432-company biomed/biotech industry group down a collective 1.9% at Tuesday’s close. Advaxis stock lost 3.9%, ending the day at 8.10, and Array stock dove 3.7%, to 7.86. Bristol stock was flat, at 53.93.

“It’s hard to understand the day in and day out of stock price,” Advaxis Chief Executive Daniel O’Connor told Investor’s Business Daily. “The (SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NBI)) was down. There was a tough day for a good group.”

The stock plunge followed announcements that Bristol-Myers will team up with Advaxis in treatments for advanced cervical cancer and with Array BioPharma in colon cancer. The Advaxis study is expected to start by the end of the year. Results from the Array study are expected in the second half of 2017.

Both Array and Advaxis will test their immuno-oncology drugs with Bristol’s drug Opdivo. Opdivo is called a checkpoint and aims to block the interaction between a PD-L1 protein on an immune system cell and a PD-1 protein on a tumor cell. It most closely rivals Keytruda, a drug from Dow stock Merck (MRK).

Advaxis’ drug, known as ADXS-DUAL, targets cancers associated with the human papillomavirus. O’Connor likened the combination with Bristol’s Opdivo to a highway system. ADXS-DUAL puts more immune system cells in the tumor’s path. Opdivo clears that path, he said.

“You think of the cars as the (immune system) cells on the highway and the toll booth as the checkpoint,” he said. “The Opdivo gives you an easy pass to go right through the checkpoint and Advaxis’ drug puts a lot of cars on the highway. The end of the highway is the tumor.”

IBD’S TAKE: Is the biotech sector setting up for a breakout? Visit IBD Data Stories for the scoop.

In the trial with Bristol, Opdivo and ADXS-DUAL will be studied in…

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