Focus stock to watch: Zymeworks Inc (NYSE: ZYME)

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Zymeworks Inc (NYSE: ZYME) stock has risen over 227% in 2019 (Source: Finviz.com). The company updated Phase 1 data for single agent ZW25 in heavily pretreated patients with HER2. Zymeworks and its collaborator BeiGene, Ltd. had planned to advance ZW25 into potentially registration-enabling global studies in HER2-expressing biliary tract cancer (BTC) and gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma (GEA), based on these durable and consistent clinical data. The promising ZW25 data at ESMO Asia had further build momentum for the expanding footprint of our ZW25 clinical development program with BeiGene. The updated single agent results of the ongoing Phase 1 trial of ZW25 in patients with HER2‑expressed strong tumors include additional safety and anti-tumor activity data from those presented at the ESMO 2019 Congress. Zymeworks’ Phase 1 study has three parts. From part one of the study (the dose-escalation phase), the recommended single-agent dose was determined to be 20 mg/kg once every two weeks or 10 mg/kg weekly. In the second part of the study (the cohort expansion phase), additional patients are being enrolled to further assess ZW25’s single-agent tolerability and anti-tumor activity against a variety of cancer types in different settings. The third part of the study (the combination phase) is underway and evaluating ZW25 in combination with selected chemotherapy agents in gastroesophageal and breast cancer patients with HER2 high or lower HER2 expression levels.

On the other hand, for the third quarter 2019, the company has reported the net loss of $30.5 million as compared to $18.8 million in the same period of 2018. This was mainly on the back of an increase in research and development expenses related with the lead therapeutic candidates and other programs, as well as an increase in general and administrative expenses in 2019. This increase was partially offset by increase in revenue from research and development collaborations, interest and other income in 2019.

Zymeworks expects research and development expenditures to increase over time in line with the advancement and expansion of clinical development of the product candidates, along with the ongoing preclinical research activities. Additionally, Zymeworks expects continuing to receive revenue from the existing and future strategic partnerships, including technology access fees, milestone-based payments and research support payments. However, Zymeworks’ ability to receive these payments is dependent upon either Zymeworks or the collaborators successfully completing specified research and development activities.  As of September 30, 2019, Zymeworks had generated$335.1 million in cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments.

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