Ikena Oncology Refocuses on Key Programs: Analysts Maintain Outperform Ratings Amid Strategic Organizational Changes – Ikena Oncology (NASDAQ:IKNA)

Thursday, Ikena Oncology Inc IKNA announced an organizational streamlining to reallocate resources from exploratory research and discovery towards the ongoing targeted oncology clinical programs

The company says it is laser-focused on IK-930 and IK-595:

IK-930: TEAD1-Selective Hippo Pathway Inhibitor

  • The company has expanded and accelerated targeted recruitment of mesothelioma patients and additional epithelioid hemangioendothelioma patients.
  •  A clinical data update is planned for the second half of 2024.

IK-595: MEK-RAF Molecular Glue

  • The initial cohort was dosed with IK-595 in December 2023 and subsequently cleared the safety evaluation window.

With the advancement of IK-930 and IK-595, the company has reduced its workforce by approximately 35%, which will be implemented over the first quarter of 2024.

With approximately $175 million in cash and cash equivalents as of December 31, 2023, and as a result of the organization changes, the company’s runway is extended into the second half of 2026.

Wedbush notes that Ikena Oncology has incorporated an upgraded formulation with improved exposure consistency into the dose-escalation study, administered concurrently with the original formulation. 

The recruitment scope has expanded to include mesothelioma and additional EHE patients. 

Anticipated data updates, including insights into mesothelioma patients, are projected for the second half of 2024. 

According to Wedbush, the enhanced formulation is expected to demonstrate superior activity compared to the original one, attributed to its improved pharmacokinetic properties.

Wedbush keeps the Outperform rating with a price target of $8.

William Blair acknowledges that while there were no financial concerns about the company, it sees restructuring as prudent. It keeps the Outperform rating.

This strategic shift will enable the company to concentrate fully on delivering key updates in 2024.

Additionally, the announcement reveals that Bristol-Myers Squibb Company BMY chose not to participate in the development of the AHR antagonist IK-175 for bladder cancer and the kynureninase IK-412 program. 

Consequently, Ikena has regained complete rights to both programs, although the company currently has no plans to invest in the clinical development of either program.

Price Action: IKNA shares are down 11.6% at $1.45 on the last check Friday.

Photo via Shutterstock

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