Shares of Sunesis Pharmaceuticals (SNSS) skyrocketed 42% in the past 7 days! Professional analyst Oppenhiemer has upgraded the stock to outperform, setting an astounding $12 price target for SNSS stock, a 199% increase.
Why did SNSS stock increase today?
Sunesis Pharmacueticals merger candidate Viracta Therapeutics announced last week that it would be securing a U.S. patent related to it’s anti-cancer treatment.
The merger between Sunesis and Viracta is expected to close in the first half of 2021. The combined company will be Viracta Therapeutics and will trade under ticker symbol VIRX.
Both Sunesis Pharmaceuticals and Viracta work to produce oncology treatments to combat cancer. At the time of writing, SNSS trading volume was dramatically up, with more than 44.5 million trades on the day compared with an average daily volume of less than 1.3 million trades.
The business of Sunesis
Sunesis is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and future commercialization of new oncology therapeutics for the treatment of hematologic and solid tumor cancers. Sunesis has built an experienced cancer drug development organization committed to improving the lives of people with cancer. The Company is focused on advancing its novel kinase inhibitor pipeline, including its first-in-class PDK1 inhibitor SNS-510.
Phosphoinositide dependent protein kinase 1 (PDK1) is a key kinase that is critical for activation of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway, which is essential for regulating cell growth, differentiation, survival and migration and is therefore frequently activated in cancer. In addition, SNS-510 inhibits other important signaling pathways, including NFKB and MAPK, by phosphoinositide-independent mechanisms.
SNS-062 is a potent, reversible, non-covalent inhibitor of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK). We are completing the phase 1b Vecabrutinib program as a potential therapy for B-cell malignancies such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL), lymphoplasmacytoid lymphoma/Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (LPL/WM), mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), and other lymphomas. Vecabrutinib does not interact with the cysteine residue, C481, within the kinase domain that is required for activity by approved and other emerging covalent BTK inhibitors. Because vecabrutinib is a selective, non-covalent inhibitor with a favorable pharmacokinetic profile, SNS-062 may provide differentiated opportunities for treatment of B-cell malignancies and other cancers.
The business of Viracta
EBV – Associated Malignancies
Epstein Barr Virus was the first virus to be directly implicated in human cancer by Denis Parsons Burkitt, who first described a cancer of the lymphatic system in the 1960s that is now known as Burkitt’s lymphoma. Its role in cancers is now understood to be much broader. EBV is a herpesvirus family member that causes mononucleosis. In most of the 95 percent of adults who carry the virus, it persists asymptomatically. In certain cases, such as in immuno-suppression or other co-factors, EBV can drive formation of cancers. It is estimated that there are 200,000 new cases and over 140,000 deaths each year due to EBV-associated cancers.
EBV in Lymphomas
Burkitt’s lymphoma remains a leading cause of cancer death among children in Africa. In addition to Burkitt’s lymphoma, EBV is now known to play roles in a subset of patients with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, including patients with aggressive forms of Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL). It is involved in about one-third of Hodgkin’s Disease cases. EBV is found in nearly all cases of aggressive NK/T cell lymphoma. Among immuno-suppressed patients, such as solid organ or hematopoietic cell transplant patient receiving immuno-suppressive therapy, nearly all cases of post-transplant lymphoma or post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) are associated with EBV. Most patients with HIV- or AIDS-associated lymphomas are also EBV positive.
EBV in Solid Tumors
Among solid tumor cancers associated with EBV, nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an aggressive head and neck cancer that, while relatively uncommon in the US, is common in certain regions of Asia, particularly in areas of Southern China. It is a leading cause of cancer death among men in Taiwan. Gastric carcinoma (GC) is a major healthcare concern especially in many parts of Asia and is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the world. EBV-associated GC or EBVaGC includes a sub-type of lymphoepithelial-like GC. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer worldwide. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) in particular is a form that tests negative for hormone epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), estrogen receptors (ER), and progesterone receptors (PR). Since the tumor cells lack the necessary receptors, the common treatments of hormone therapy and drugs that target ER, PR and HER-2 are ineffective in the treatment of TNBC. EBV is found in a significant portion of breast cancers, particularly TNBC and is associated with the difficulty to treat this disease. EBV is associated with smooth muscle tumors or leiomyosarcomas (EBV LMS) that occur more frequently in immuno-suppressed patients. EBV LMS are rare and difficult to treat.
I also recommend checking out Novan (NOVN) as another long term hold.