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Exploring The Potential Of NovoCure's TTFields In Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Mar. 20, 2023 3:02 PM ETNovoCure Limited (NVCR) Stock14 Comments
Stephen Ayers profile picture
Stephen Ayers


  • NovoCure focuses on promoting Optune and Optune Lua, FDA-approved devices utilizing Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) technology to target and destroy cancer cells.
  • The LUNAR study in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) met its primary endpoint, showing significant improvement in overall survival when using TTFields with standard therapies. Details are expected in June.
  • The company is planning to seek FDA approval for TTFields as a second-line treatment for stage 4 NSCLC based on LUNAR data, potentially expanding its market significantly.
  • NovoCure expects results from clinical trials in recurrent ovarian cancer, brain metastases, and locally advanced pancreatic cancer within the next few years.
  • Despite recent noise (such as analyst downgrades, CMO departure, and declining GBM revenues), the core strength of TTFields as a unique and potentially transformative cancer treatment remains evident. NovoCure is considered a "Buy."
The Creative Coalition"s 2019 #RightToBearArts Gala In Washington, D.C., Presented By Optune

Paul Morigi


NovoCure (NASDAQ:NVCR) is an international oncology company that specializes in a unique platform technology called Tumor Treating Fields [TTFields]. TTFields use electric fields to target and destroy cancer cells through various mechanisms. NovoCure's main focus is on

This article was written by

Stephen Ayers profile picture
With over a decade of dedication to the realms of biotechnology and technology, my investment journey has been marked by a keen interest in these innovative and rapidly evolving industries. My unique perspective stems from my background as a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, supplemented by my ongoing pursuit of a Master's in Business Administration. This blend of healthcare knowledge and business insight allows me to approach investment analysis with a multifaceted perspective, particularly valuable in the biotech and tech sectors. My investment strategies are deeply influenced by the concepts of probabilistic forecasting and resilience in fluctuating markets, principles I've adopted from insightful works like "Superforecasting" and "Antifragile." These approaches are crucial in navigating the complexities and uncertainties in both biotech and technology investments. While I have a strong foundation in biotechnology, my interests and expertise are increasingly extending into broader technological trends, reflecting the interconnected nature of these two sectors. As a contributor to Seeking Alpha, my goal is to provide in-depth, insightful analysis across both biotech and tech industries. I aim to unravel the complex layers and untapped potential of investments in these fields, catering to a wide range of investors. My engagement in healthcare and pursuit of business education fuel my commitment to continuous learning and staying abreast of the latest advancements in both sectors.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have no stock, option or similar derivative position in any of the companies mentioned, and no plans to initiate any such positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

This article is intended to provide informational content only and should not be construed as personalized investment advice with regard to "Buy/Sell/Hold/Short/Long" recommendations. The predictions made in this article regarding clinical, regulatory, and market outcomes are the author's opinions and are based on probabilities, not certainties. While the information provided aims to be factual, errors may occur, and readers should verify the information for themselves. Investing in biotech is highly volatile, risky, and speculative, so readers should conduct their own research and consider their financial situation before making any investment decisions. The author cannot be held responsible for any financial losses resulting from reliance on the information presented in this article.

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Comments (14)

NDHT profile picture
Good article.

The LUNAR study enrolled NSCLC patients who have progressed on or after Platinum-based therapy, while based on the author, the current first line of therapies are ICIs and chemos, a very different treatment field compared to the one when the LUNAR study was initiated.

Even all the results are positive, not sure how the oncologists would use the TTF, since there is no data to support its use in those patients who have had ICI + chemo. Maybe the FDA can approve it for those patients who have had platinum only, which means, few now days? We are talking about the "evidence based medicine" here.

In addition, Prometheus' acquisition by Merck is kind of interesting. That company released their Phase 2 positive results in early December. Its stock price jumped from $30s to over $100. Four month later, Merck (had no partnership with RXDX) bought is for $11 billion, and the stock price is now closer to $200.

NVCR had the similar positive news in early January, but its stock price has been flat (compared to that before the LUNAR data release); further, its collaboration partner Merck chose RXDX, but not NVCR. Apparently, the upside potential for Merck is that NVCR is not worth it.

If you were Merck, why would you not spend that $11 billion, or more, to buy NVCR instead, as some have claimed all the positives things: $500 million sales already, potential approval in NSCLC, upcoming releases of several Phase 3 trials, a TTF that could be potentially used by just about every cancer patient for years?
biogenius profile picture
@NDHT One issue with the Jan data release is that there was only limited information. I think that is the reason why the sp is flat. There is this worry that the result is not as good as the management said. I don't disagree with you that may be Merck saw the data and is not happy. I suppose there is also the possibility that NVCR wants more money than what Merck is willing to pay.
jondoeuk profile picture
@NDHT We know the OS was statistically significant, as it was in the PD(L)-1+ subgroup, but not the chemo subgroup, though survival trended well. So, approval could be for all, but in the real world limited to those already using an ant-PD-1. The real question is just how impressive those subgroups are. A bigger question is how good the improvement in the PD(L)-1+ population is.

The company is also trying to shift to first-line. They are working with MRK on a PhII single-arm trial (KEYNOTE-B36), testing the device with Keytruda in untreated NSCLC. Data from that could come next year.
NDHT profile picture
@jondoeuk You sounded like that they actually measure the levels of PD-L1 first before those positive patients were given the combo of TTF and ICI (Keytruda, Opdivo that does not require a PD-L1 test first, and atezolizumab). Furthermore, does this mean that those who are on the combo of TTF and chemo tested low in PD-L1? If that is the case, we have another variable to talk about here.

It seems to me that all the patients in this LUNAR trial are naive to ICIs (similar to Keynote-B36, except that they had been on platinum before).

Your statement, "...but in the real world limited to those already using an ant-PD-1." However, NVCR does not have any data for these patients with NSCLC, yet.
Tom W Dorsey profile picture

The first adjunct therapy to enhance IO's like Keytruda. $571+++
It's a buy at $30, NOT AT $60.
Hidden Opportunities profile picture
Classic case of impatient investors.
10 bagger potential from here.
LONG since 2017
Tom W Dorsey profile picture
@Hidden Opportunities Analysts dont work for retail investors, they help prime brokerage generate fees...aiding those clients. 8mm shares short that were underwater until abought 2 weeks ago. A data void between topline LUNAR and complete data read.....promote uncertainty and question the science, question the trial structure, etc etc.... Plenty of game changing catalysts next few quarters. $571++ GLTA
Tom W Dorsey profile picture
@Tom W Dorsey Why this specific number ?
Tom W Dorsey profile picture
@mosaligk Rollout of the next few indications with GBM penetration assumptions. Which should be conservative/very realistic because I believe as additional indications hit the market and skepticism wanes, great market penetration will be reflected across the board. GL.
biogenius profile picture
With so many eyes looking at this company, I suspect that the sp is appropriate for its r/r ratio. I would call it a 'hold'.
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