In July, INmune Bio (INMB) dosed their first cancer patient with INKmune. Last night, we got an update on the program. Admittedly, there’s only been one patient dosed but…with this statement from the press release, INmune has just leapfrogged the competition to becoming one of, if not THE, leaders in the NK industry.
There are only really a handful of NK cell companies out there. This is due to the history of biotech in which the early successes were on the adaptive immune system. Companies have been going after T Cell therapies for a while and achieving great success. Multi-billion dollar drugs have come from this along with significant investment dollars and very large market caps.
However, lately NK has started becoming the next big in biotech. The largest (market cap) company in the space, Fate Therapeutics (FATE) has a $7B valuation and is in phase 2 trials. Century Therapeutics (IPSC) is worth $2B and is pre-clinical. And, there are others focused on NK cells. Suddenly, the industry is now garnering some real attention.
The goal of companies in the NK space is to activate the NK cells to assist in clearing cancer from those stricken with the disease. Much like CAR-T therapies, most companies are seeking to inject modified NK cells into humans. As we discussed in this must-read interview, the issue with this is persistence. NK cells don’t last long and this type of therapy is not only very expensive but will require continual dosing. It has proven that NK cells are effective, but it’s not the best route to take here.
INmune’s approach with their INKmune product is to activate your body’s existing NK cells. They believe that the tools to fight cancer are already there, just for whatever reason, not seeing or reacting to the cancer. If they can be primed, the supposition is they will do what they do naturally, which is kill cancer.
And, the trial is proving this works. Whereas, prior to priming with INKmune, maybe 20% of the NK cells were actively going after tumors, the dosed patient saw over 80% of his NK cells become activated and aggressive in attacking the disease. Equally important, they proliferate the tumor.
This quote from Dr. Lowdell is exactly what the Company was hoping to see in their trials. In pre clinical work, mlNK cells were seen and this is truly the holy grail of NK programs. Teaching the cells to stay active against tumors. The CAR-NK programs, those in which NK cells are modified outside the body, have never demonstrated this. INKmune has shown production of mlNK cells in the lab and now, for the first time ever, has demonstrated this effect in vivo.
In my opinion, INmune Bio has jumped ahead of the competition to become a leader in the NK space. They have achieved greater, albeit early stage in one patient, success than any other program in terms of activation, proliferation, persistence and the form of mlNK cells. It does need to be proven in more patients and larger trials, but WOW!!!
INmune Bio has been off of investors radar screens for a while. It’s too small and they are attacking diseases from angles that differ from others’ efforts. Yet, they have two blockbuster potential programs and each is putting up best-in-class data.
The current market cap of INMB is just over $300 million dollars. Compare this with FATE at $7B or Cassava (SAVA) at over $3B. It’s a fraction of either’s valuation yet has a competing program in both NK cells and Alzheimer’s Disease. And, has shown compelling data in both cases. The valuation gap is absurd.
In two weeks we will get another look at INmune’s Alzheimer’s data from their Phase 1 trial. We should also get more updates from the NK program as more patients get dosed and they move into ovarian cancer. The science has been superb to date and the stock will eventually reflect this. If you’re reading this note, you are lucky in that, despite the great clinical success demonstrated so far, you’re still early to the investment party.