Is Northwest Biotheraputics a Buy Ahead of Its Brain Tumor Vaccine Clinical Data Release?

When it comes to winning biotech stocks this year, coronavirus vaccine developers automatically come to many investors’ minds. However, one of the top-performing stocks in the sector is Northwest Biotherapeutics (OTC:NWBO), which focuses on immunotherapies that treat cancer, and has returned a staggering 408% since January.

The main reason why investors are so excited about Northwest Biotherapeutics’ prospects is that the company’s 14-year-long phase 3 clinical trial to evaluate its one and only immunotherapy candidate, DCVax-L, as a treatment for glioblastoma, has concluded. Should you consider buying the stock in anticipation of the data release? Let’s find out together. 

3-D illustration of a dendritic cell.

Image source: Getty Images.

Treatment background

Glioblastoma is a deadly form of brain cancer prevalent in up to 15% of people with brain tumors. Even after patients receive standard of care (SOC) treatments consisting of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, their median survival time comes down to just 15.5 months in historical studies. DCVax-L is an experimental immunotherapy that seeks to stimulate patients’ own immune systems to fight cancer growth. 

The potential biologic has been in phase 3 clinical trials since December 2006. In the study, all glioblastoma patients receive SOC treatments, while a random portion also receives DCVax-L via upper arm injections. A key trial endpoint requires at least 233 patient deaths out of a total of 331 participants enrolled to calculate a survival benefit for DCVax-L, if any. The company completed its study on July 24, and the data is currently being reviewed by statisticians. In the meantime, speculations on the results have ranged from wildly enthusiastic to pessimistic from excited investors and short-sellers. 

The bullish case

The bullish case for Northwest Biotherapeutics stock is straightforward: The DCVax-L clinical trial was supposed to wrap up as early as November 2016, but had to keep going because the projected number of deaths had not occurred by then.

Around the time when the trial was enrolling, only 3% of glioblastoma patients who received SOC survived over five years. Due to extremely low survival rates for patients who receive SOC treatments, bullish investors argue that there is no other logical explanation for the clinical study going into overtime than DCVax-L keeping patients alive longer than expected. 

The bearish case

The bearish case is a lot more complicated.

Clinical trials investigating experimental biologics for deadly diseases with a lack of therapeutic options usually have pre-planned interim analyses. DCVax-L’s phase 3 trial had two such analyses built into the study.

The analysis is conducted by an independent data-monitoring committee (DMC) that can recommend that the trial stop early if an experimental therapy demonstrates statistically meaningful efficacy against SOC treatments. This way, the biologic can quickly advance to the approval stage in order to save more lives.

Northwest Biotherapeutics’ DMC carried out two interim analyses on the DCVax-L study in 2017 and 2018 (more on this later). Both times, however, the company published the DMC’s findings as blinded, and the trial continued. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make any sense at all in the context of

Read more

IU School of Medicine partnering to increase greater access to psychiatric care in Northwest Indiana | Local News



STOCK_IU_Northwest

Indiana University Northwest




MERRILLVILLE — A new partnership is seeking to bring greater access to psychiatric care in Northwest Indiana.

The IU School of Medicine in collaboration with the Northwest Indiana GME Consortium is launching a new psychiatry resident program at IU Northwest to train psychiatrists in a four-year program.

The program, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, will accept four residents each year.


IUN to offer degree exploration, admissions advice in virtual open house

It is the first psychiatry residency program in northern Indiana and the third in the IU School of Medicine, IU School of Medicine Northwest — Gary campus director Elizabeth Ryan said in a news release.

“The program contributes to a goal of recruiting medical students to the Northwest-Gary campus, upon medical school graduation transitioning to a Northwest Indiana-located residency program and retaining these physicians to serve in the Region,” Ryan said.

The United States Health Resources and Services Administration has designated Northwest Indiana as a high-needs geographic health professional shortage area, according to an IU School of Medicine news release.


250% spike in NWI COVID cases, rising positivity rates indicate worst is yet to come, professor says

The program’s partners say they hope the new cohort can help ease this gap.

Residents in the new program will be integrated into the network of Northwest Indiana GME Consortium partners, like Regional Health Systems in Merrillville.

Source Article

Read more

Northwest Houston bars hope to weather COVID-19 restrictions that keep them closed

Bars across Texas reopened their doors following Gov. Greg Abbott’s Oct. 7 order allowing individual counties to determine if it’s safe.

However, Harris County is still not allowing bars that don’t serve food to reopen, including some in northwest Harris County. The county still has a high degree of community spread of the virus, county officials said.

“Indoor, maskless gatherings should not be taking place right now, and this applies to bars as well,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo tweeted in response to Abbott’s order.


While some bars have been able to reopen because they sell food, those without a kitchen or food truck are still left not knowing when they’ll be able to open again.

Franklin’s Tower, at 4307 Treaschwig Road in Spring, first closed in March for the initial shutdown, and was only open for a few weeks after being allowed to reopen in May.

“It’s absolutely terrible,” Franklin’s Tower owner Brandi Neal said. “We’re in the neighborhood where my venue has provided not only a lot of jobs, but also a community atmosphere around here.”

Neal said her bar was a community staple in Spring, offering local artists space to paint murals, live performances from area musicians every weekend and homemade goods from small business owners close by.

“Basically, I’m just trying to hold on,” Neal said. “I really thought we’d be able to stay open.”

Neal said she is working on acquiring a food truck for her bar so they can reopen. She said she wanted to be back open months ago but at this point isn’t sure when that will be possible.

She has applied for business loans to try to keep the bar afloat but said everything she applied for has either been denied or pending. Many of her employees are still waiting for the bar to reopen to start working again.

“Luckily, our customers have been really good for them, and they’ve been cleaning houses or mowing lawns or running errands for them,” Neal said. “Some have gotten a little part-time work with bars in other counties, but they’re all waiting for us to be open.”

Meanwhile, Ultra Bar, 744 Cypress Creek Parkway, was planning to debut in March before the pandemic hit, setting back their opening indefinitely.

“We were devastated,” Ultra Bar Co-Owner Jamie Woo-Hughley said. “We don’t know what the future is for the bar industry.”

Woo-Hughley said they had done a total reconstruction for their building, but didn’t add a kitchen — so now they’re unable to open their bar. Now, she said, they plan to add a food truck outside in hopes they will be able to open.

“That’s really the only thing we have to try and recover other than just acting as a venue,” she said. “Even with that, you don’t know how many people can come in.”

With indoor bars, Harris County epidemiologist Maria Rivera said it’s harder to stop the spread of viruses

Read more
  • Partner links