Aptose Biosciences (TSX:APS) is a science-driven biotechnology company advancing medicines to treat unmet medical needs in life-threatening cancers. Based on insights into the genetic profiles of certain cancers and patient populations, Aptose is building a pipeline of novel and targeted oncology therapies directed at signaling pathways in cancer cells.
The company has a price-to-book ratio of 3.63 and market capitalization of $469 million. Debt is very sparingly used at Aptose, as evidenced by a debt-to-equity ratio of just 0.93. Aptose’s strategy is intended to optimize efficacy through simultaneous targeting of key drivers of disease in cancer cells, while preserving quality of life in patients by minimizing the side effects associated with conventional therapies.
The company’s product pipeline includes cancer drug candidates that exert potent activity as standalone agents and that enhance the activities of other anticancer agents without causing overlapping toxicities. Aptose’s targeted products can emerge as best-in-class agents that deliver single agent benefit and may serve as part of a combination therapeutic strategy for specific populations of cancer patients.
Many drugs currently approved for the treatment and management of cancer are not selective for the specific genetic alterations (targets) and pathways that cause the patient’s tumour and hence allow for disease progression and significant toxicities due to side effects. Aptose’s strategy is to develop agents that target underlying disease-promoting mutations within a patient population.
The company intends to apply this strategy across several therapeutic indications in oncology. This could be revolutionary. Aptose has two clinical stage programs and a third program that is discovery stage and partnered with another company.
In the company’s clinical stage program, an investigational new drug application was submitted to the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. The drug is being currently evaluated in a dose escalation study in patients with certain malignancies that are resistant to other therapies. The clinical program is planned to expand into patients with leukemia, including the emerging populations resistant to inhibitors.
Aptose’s management is deeply committed to the development of anticancer drugs that target a particular life-threatening malignancy. This targeted approach is intended to impact the disease-causing events in cancer cells without affecting normal processes within cells. Such an approach requires that the company first identify critical underlying oncogenic mechanisms in cancer cells and then develop a therapeutic that selectively impacts cancer mechanisms.
There are risks with investing in Aptose. There are numerous companies in these industries that are focusing efforts on activities similar to Aptose. Some of these are companies with established positions in the pharmaceutical industry and have substantially more financial resources and more extensive research capabilities than Aptose. In addition, the company faces competition from other companies for opportunities to enter into partnerships with academic institutions.
Despite these risks, Aptose has made good progress and established some exciting new partnerships. The company recently announced an exclusive drug discovery partnership for next generation therapies. The program has already delivered novel intellectual property.
There is massive potential for long-term investors in this stock.
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Fool contributor Nikhil Kumar has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.