Incyte Gains as Melanoma Combo Sees Success in Early-Stage Trial

Incyte Corp. rose to its highest level since January as one of its experimental drug yielded positive results in an early-stage trial when used in combination therapy for a form of skin cancer.

About 74 percent of patients with advanced melanoma who received Incyte’s epacadostat in combination with Merck & Co.’s Keytruda saw their disease stabilize or improve, and the treatment was well tolerated. The shares gained 4.6 percent to $93.65 at 12:40 p.m. in New York, after earlier reaching $95.39.

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, kills about 10,130 people in the U.S. annually, according to the Skin Care Foundation, and doctors are looking for better treatments for severe cases. Incyte’s results, reported Wednesday in a statement, show that an additional patient responded to the treatment since an earlier release of data. That indicates it may compare favorably with Bristol Myers-Squibb Co.’s combination of its Opdivo and Yervoy drugs for melanoma, said Sam Fazeli, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence.

The Incyte and Merck drug combination’s “better safety profile and more convenient dosing schedule demonstrate its potential to compete with Bristol’s,” Fazeli said Wednesday in a note.

Incyte, based in Wilmington, Delaware, plans to present its data next month at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress in Copenhagen.

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