Novocure Surges As FDA Allows A Six Months Shorter Lung Cancer Study

Novocure (NVCR) said Tuesday it could have the results of a pivotal lung cancer study six months sooner than expected, leading NVCR stock to pop.


The news follows an interim analysis by the Data and Safety Monitoring Board, an independent board of experts. Last month, the board said the company could shorten its study.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration agreed to that board’s recommendation. Now, Novocure will need to keep tabs on 276 patients for 12 months. Previously, the study called for 534 patients over 18 months. On the stock market today, NVCR stock jumped 3% to 180.29.

Novocure had been planning to enroll 432 patients by the fourth quarter, Mizuho Securities analyst Difei Yang said in a note to clients. That’s a high bar considering the competitive nature of enrolling patients in a non-small cell lung cancer treatment study. This type of lung cancer is the most common, therefore many companies are working in the space.

“Our view is that while the company may have experienced delays in patient recruitment, it is undeniable that the (effectiveness) has been strong and with the trial design change, recruitment is less of an issue at this point,” she said.

NVCR Stock Pops On Speedy Test

Novocure is taking a different approach to cancer treatment. The company makes a body-worn medical device that uses electrical fields to interrupt cell division, the process by which cancer grows. The technology is being combined with cancer drugs called checkpoint inhibitors.

The recommendation by the Data and Safety Monitoring Board in April was huge for NVCR stock. That day, shares rocketed nearly 50%. The board examines blinded test results — meaning the FDA and Novocure haven’t seen them — before making its recommendation. The suggestion for a shorter window and smaller group suggests the results are particularly promising.

Novocure is now planning to enroll the last patient in the fourth quarter. The company expects to have results of the study in 2022.

Yang kept her 242 price target on NVCR stock.

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.


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