Shares of SQZ Biotechnologies Co. (SQZ) have lost more than 50% year-to-date and trade around $13.
SQZ Biotech is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing transformative cell therapies for patients with cancer, infectious diseases, and other serious conditions.
The company’s lead cancer vaccine candidate SQZ-PBMC-HPV is being studied in a phase I/II trial in HLA-A*02+ patients with recurrent, locally advanced, or metastatic HPV16+ solid tumors, dubbed SQZ-PBMC-HPV-101.
SQZ-PBMC-HPV is an autologous cell therapy product candidate precisely engineered via SQZ’s Cell Squeeze technology to target HPV+ cancers.
In June of this year, the company announced initial results from its ongoing phase I/II clinical trial of SQZ-PBMC-HPV as monotherapy, which demonstrated that the investigational cell therapy is safe and well-tolerated and can stimulate immune responses in certain patients with advanced or metastatic Human Papillomavirus positive (HPV16+) tumors.
Earlier in the week, an independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for the phase I/II clinical trial of SQZ-PBMC-HPV recommended that the trial advance into the combination stage with checkpoint inhibitors like Roche’s Tecentriq.
Initiation of the combination cohorts will trigger a milestone payment from Roche to SQZ Biotechnologies.
SQZ-PBMC-HPV is derived from the company’s SQZ APC platform for oncology, which is being developed as a part of the company’s collaboration with Roche.
The SQZ APC platform is also being applied to develop prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines for infectious diseases.
Another clinical program of the company is SQZ-AAC-HPV, a cell therapy candidate generated from red blood cells engineered with tumor-specific antigen to treat HPV+ tumors.
SQZ-AAC-HPV is based on another oncology platform, SQZ AAC, which applies the company’s Cell Squeeze technology to create Antigen Carriers from red blood cells.
A phase I trial of SQZ-AAC-HPV as monotherapy and in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors in HLA-A*02+ patients with HPV16+ recurrent, locally advanced or metastatic solid tumors was initiated as recently as August of this year.
The third platform, SQZ TAC, also applies the Cell Squeeze technology to create Antigen Carriers as well as for generating immune tolerance. The products being developed under this platform are under preclinical testing.
The company has no commercialized products and has not generated any revenue from product sales.
In the second quarter ended June 30, 2021, net loss was $19.1 million or $0.68 per share on collaboration revenue of $4.54 million. This compared with a net loss of $10.0 million or $5.74 per share and collaboration revenue of $5.98 million for the same period last year.
(Revenue reported refers to the company’s collaboration revenue generated under the Roche agreement that was initially signed in 2015 and was subsequently expanded in 2018).
The company’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $185.1 million, as of June 30, 2021.
SQZ Biotech made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on October 30, 2020, pricing its shares at $16 each.
SQZ has thus far hit a low of $11.15 and a high of $36.49. The stock closed Thursday’s trading at $13.50, up 1.89%.
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