Compugen discovers cancer treatment target

AP News
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Posted: Dec 28, 2009 4:14 PM

Israeli drug developer Compugen Ltd. said Monday it discovered a potential cancer treatment target using its RNA sequence technology.

Shares skyrocketed $1.12, or 27 percent, to close at $5.20. They peaked at $5.86, their highest price since February 2005. More than 18 million shares changed hands for the day, compared to an average of 385,000 shares per day over the last 100 days.

The company said it discovered and validated CGEN-671, a potential target for cancer treatments. The information can be used to better tailor treatments to target a wide range of cancers. The goal would be to target epithelial tumors, or carcinomas, which account for about 85 percent of all cancers. Carcinomas include tumors of the lung, breast, colon, ovary, prostate, and skin. Compugen or other drugmakers could develop drugs that work on tumors that have the protein.

The company said research shows CGEN-671 is expressed in more than 75 percent of colorectal and breast cancers, and 50 percent in lung cancers. It also said CGEN-671 is found at much lower levels in healthy tissue than another cancer drug target, CD55, which could reduce the side effects of drugs that work on CGEN-671.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Pamela Bassett said she expects Compugen to enter into new partnerships in the coming months because its research can speed up development for drugmakers and diagnostics companies. She kept a "Buy" rating on the stock and raised her price target to $12 per share.

Compugen stock last traded at $12 in October 2000.