Novocure Stock Flashes Sell Signal After Liver Cancer Test Disappoints

Novocure (NVCR) reported disappointing results from a study in advanced liver cancer patients on Thursday, and NVCR stock sacrificed its breakout.




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The mid-stage test combined Novocure’s anticancer device with chemotherapy in patients with a particularly aggressive form of liver cancer. For 11 patients who completed at least 12 weeks of treatment, 18% experienced partial or complete tumor shrinkage. Another 10 didn’t continue treatment for the full 12 weeks. Using statistical modeling, their response rate would have been 9.5%.

But even the stronger 18% response rate was below expectations, Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Kumar said in a report to clients.

In morning trading on the stock market today, NVCR stock tumbled 15.6% near 187.10.

NVCR Stock Dives On Liver Cancer Test

Study participants were in advanced stages of liver cancer. The company enrolled 27 patients in the study and six died in less than 12 weeks.

Novocure tested its technology, known as tumor-treating fields, with a type of chemotherapy. A body-worn medical device delivers a constant electrical field to interrupt mitosis, the process by which cancer cells multiply.

Using statistical modeling, Novocure says progression-free survival would have been 5.8 months at the median. Progression-free survival is the amount of time a patient lives while on treatment before the cancer worsens. But Novocure’s number seems below recent studies, Evercore’s Kumar said. He kept his underperform rating and 110 price target on NVCR stock.

Shares Sacrifice A Breakout

The news sent NVCR stock diving below a buy point at 220.58 out of a cup base, according to MarketSmith.com. Shares triggered a sell rule, falling more than 7%-8% below their entry.

Still, NVCR stock is highly rated with a Relative Strength Rating of 95 out of a perfect 99. This puts its shares in the top 5% of all stocks in terms of 12-month performance, according to IBD Digital.

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.

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