December 28, 2009 / 2:05 PM / 9 years ago

Compugen discovers cancer drug target, shares rally

(Reuters) - Compugen Ltd (CGEN.O), the Israeli drug maker which recently signed a deal with Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), said it discovered a drug target for treatment of a certain type of cancer, sending its shares up as much as 44 percent to a near five-year high.

In late morning trade, more than 10 million Compugen shares changed hands, making it the most active stock on Nasdaq. The biotech company has become a Nasdaq darling since October after signing collaborative deals with various pharma giants and its shares have risen 93 percent since then.

Compugen said the compound, CGEN-671, is for the treatment of multiple epithelial tumors, also referred to as carcinomas, which account for about 85 percent of all cancers.

Epithelial cells are the cover and lining of every surface or cavity of the body, and also the body organs, and can develop into different types of epithelial cancers.

Compugen, which focuses on the discovery and licensing of product candidates, has filed patent applications covering the splice variant, CGEN-671, and its various therapeutic and diagnostic utilities, it said.

CGEN-671 was identified as a potential drug target through the use of Compugen’s monoclonal antibody targets discovery platform, the company said.

Compugen shares, which traded as low as 39 cents in March, nearly doubled last Wednesday to $5.58 after the company said it entered into a collaboration deal with Pfizer.

Shares of the company were up 30 percent at $5.30 after touching a high of $5.86.

Reporting by Shailesh Kuber in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel

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