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Exelixis (EXEL) Begins Study on XL092 Combo in Colorectal Cancer

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Exelixis, Inc. EXEL announced that it has initiated the phase III STELLAR-303 study that is evaluating its next-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitor, XL092, in combination with atezolizumab for treating patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (“CRC”).

The STELLAR-303 study will investigate the combo of XL092 + atezolizumab versus Stivarga (regorafenib) for treating patients with metastatic CRC (which is not microsatellite instability-high or mismatch repair-deficient) who have progressed after or are intolerant to the standard-of-care therapy.

The primary endpoint of the study is overall survival.

While Exelixis is sponsoring the STELLAR-303 study, Roche RHHBY is providing atezolizumab for use in the same.

Roche currently markets atezolizumab under the brand name Tecentriq. The immuno-oncology drug is approved for multiple cancer indications. RHHBY is also conducting various label expansion studies on Tecentriq.

Shares of Exelixis have rallied 5.9% so far this year against the industry’s decline of 28%.

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In December 2021, Exelixis initiated the dose-escalation stage of the phase IbSTELLAR-002 study. The phase Ib study is evaluating XL092 in combination with immuno-oncology therapies in advanced solid tumors.

XL092 is a next-generation oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets kinases implicated in cancer growth and spreading, including VEGF receptors — MET, AXL and MER. It is currently being developed to treat advanced solid tumors, including genitourinary cancers, as a monotherapy and in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Exelixis is looking to build a differentiated next-generation pipeline in oncology through strategic collaborations. The successful development of additional candidates will diversify its revenue base and reduce dependence on EXEL’s lead drug, Cabometyx, which is approved for advanced renal cell carcinoma and for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who have been previously treated with Nexavar.

Cabometyx is also approved in the United States for treating additional types of cancer indications.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Exelixis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the biotech sector are Leap Therapeutics, Inc. LPTX and Precision BioSciences, Inc. DTIL, both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Leap Therapeutics’ loss per share has narrowed 11.1% for 2022 and 5.9% for 2023 in the past 60 days.

Earnings of Leap Therapeutics have surpassed estimates in three of the trailing four quarters and missed the same on the other occasion. LPTX delivered an earnings surprise of 1.92%, on average.

Precision BioSciences’ loss per share estimates narrowed 21.7% for 2022 and 31.4% for 2023 in the past 60 days.

Earnings of Precision BioSciences have surpassed estimates in each of the trailing four quarters. DTIL delivered an earnings surprise of 76.15%, on average.

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