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Mirati Therapeutics (MRTX) More than Doubles Market Cap Overnight

Mirati Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:MRTX) is skyrocketing today, currently $6.40 higher at $11.15 in mid-afternoon trading – a 135 percent gain from yesterday’s closing price. After the closing bell yesterday, the drug maker released upbeat clinical data from two ongoing studies evaluating its non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) drug Sitravatinib.

The stock’s volume has also exploded today, with more than 33.5 million shares already traded. On an average trading day, only about 122,000 shares of Mirati change hands.

The first study is a Phase 1b program, assessing sitravatinib as a single agent in patients who have advanced solid tumor malignancies. In a separate Phase 2 trial, the drug is being evaluated in combination with nivolumab – also called Opdivo – in patients who have cancer progression after earlier treatment with a checkpoint inhibitor.

For NSCLC patients whose cancer progresses, even after a checkpoint inhibitor, there is a high need for novel therapeutic options. According to the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Charles M. Baum, MD, PhD, Mirati is “very encouraged” by the patient responses from the Phase 2 study – especially since the observed responses would not be expected if the patients were being treated with just another checkpoint inhibitor by itself.

“In addition, in the single agent trial, the objective partial response is the first example of clinical activity in a patient with a CBL mutation,” Dr. Baum added. “Inactivating mutations in CBL occur in approximately 1.5% of NSCLC patients and currently represent an unmet medical need.”

In the Phase 2 program, three (out of 11 total patients being assessed) confirmed partial responses were observed. In both the Phase 1b and Phase 2 trials, the drug and combination therapy demonstrated a manageable safety profile and were well tolerated.

As a result of the positive data that was announced, this morning Leerink Partners told investors that it was lifting its price target on Mirati’s common stock from $7.00 to $9.00 – while it reaffirmed a Market Perform rating.

The author of this article holds no position in any of the companies mentioned above.