Biotech companies continue to offer investors a unique opportunity for potentially massive gains yet there are always a number of risks involved with speculative plays. That being said we have identified four biotech companies that you may want to put on your radar in the near future as they have demonstrated a number of positive signs that may indicate a new level of growth.
Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX)
Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX) has been a favorite for many biotech investors as of late as the company, which focuses on the acquisition, development and commercialization of medically important pharmaceutical products for the treatment of renal disease, and they have won favor among more investors this week as they have surged from a Monday opening of 1.93 to a high of 2.17 in early action on Tuesday following an announcement that company CEO, Ron Bentsur, would be presenting at the 7th Annual JMP Securities Healthcare Conference being held July 12-13, 2012, in NYC.
While KERX continues to develop Zerenex, an oral, ferric iron-based compound that has the capacity to bind to phosphate and form non-absorbable complexes, the advancements being made by the company have stirred a number of rumors that they could be an attractive acquisition for a bigger player. If such a scenario plays out shareholders of KERX should be in a good position given the fact the company has zero total debt.
Shares of KERX are currently holding around the 2.10 – 2.14 level, above their 50-day moving average of 1.74 yet still trailing their 200-day moving average of 2.65. Given the fact that KERX is now in their Phase III stage of the Zerenex clinical program for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia in patients with end-stage renal disease investors may be thinking that the potential rewards far outweigh the associated risks, especially considering the fact that the clinical program is being conducted pursuant to a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) agreement with the FDA.
Geron Corporation (NASDAQ: GERN)
Just as KERX will be present at the JMP Securities Healthcare Conference in NYC so too will Geron Corporation as company President and CEO, John A Scarlett, M.D., is scheduled to deliver an overview of the company on Thursday, July 12, 2012.
As part of that overview Scarlett will almost certainly provide updates regarding GERN’s two lead product candidates in clinical development, imetelstat and GRN1005, both of which are being developed as first-in-class therapies for cancer.
Imetelstat is a telomerase inhibitor that is being evaluated in four Phase 2 clinical trials: metastatic breast cancer, advanced non-small cell lung cancer, essential thrombocythemia/polycythemia vera and multiple myeloma. GRN1005 is a peptide-drug conjugate that is designed to transport a proven anti-cancer drug, paclitaxel, across the blood-brain barrier by targeting low-density lipoprotein receptor-related proteins (LRPs), specifically LRP-1. GRN1005 is being evaluated in two Phase 2 clinical trials: brain metastases arising from breast cancer and brain metastases arising from non-small cell lung cancer.
After a rough June in which shares tumbled to a 52-week low of 1.25 shareholders have seen an impressive bounce-back in July, climbing as high as 1.79 on July 3, 2012 and currently holding around the 1.62 – 1.66 level. At their current mark shares are ahead of the 50-day moving average of 1.49 but still trail their 200-day moving average of 1.77. While GERN took a hit when it was reported they might divest up to $200 million of any combination of shares, debt securities and warrants and then use the proceeds for working capital and general corporate purposes, which include research and development, it looks as if they have overcome the initial skepticism and could be on track for some positive gains.
Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CTIC)
No doubt shareholders of Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CTIC) are hoping the bleeding has finally stopped for the company engaged in the development, acquisition, and commercialization of drugs for the treatment of cancer and while shares have rebounded slightly from an ugly slide that sent prices down to a 52-week low of 0.56 on June 29, 2012 they still have a ways to go before seeing that 1.65 mark they reached back in February.
That being said, there are some positive steps being taken by CTIC that have investors interested as the company, namely their announced plans to begin selling its non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma drug Pixurvi in Europe. To do this CTIC is re-aligning its resources and re-prioritizing its product development pipeline.
In addition to their plans for Pixurvi, CTIC’s re-aligning and re-prioritizing will accelerate the advancement of pacritinib, their recently-acquired, highly-selective JAK 2 inhibitor, into phase III clinical trials, with plans to begin a Phase III trial in Q4 of 2012.
Obviously the current share price hovering around the 0.61 mark is disappointing and while it is well below the 50-day moving average of 0.83 and the 200-day moving average of 1.09 shareholders could find impressive gains in the near future if the Pixurvi produces what the company is targeting in Europe.
OncoSec Medical Inc. (OTCBB: ONCS)
On Monday OncoSec Medical Inc. (OTCBB: ONCS) announced they had received Investigational Review Board (IRB) approval at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center for a Phase II clinical trial evaluating their OMS ElectroImmunotherapy for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. This announcement served to boost shares of ONCS to a three-month high of 0.2980 and while they have dipped slightly on Tuesday, down to a current price of 0.2780, a spike could be seen in the near future if things go well.
This Phase II clinical trial will mark the first time patients suffering from cutaneous T-cell lymphoma will be treated with an immunotherapy delivered using electroporation, meaning if positive results can be attained then shareholders of ONCS, which develops advanced-stage OMS ElectroOncology therapies to treat solid tumors and metastatic disease, may find the current share price to be a bargain.
If results of the Phase I trial are any indication of how the Phase II clinical trial will go then investors may have reason to be optimistic as those results showed OMS ElectroImmunotherapy as a therapy to treat malignant melanoma was safe and well tolerated. In addition, 53 percent of patients with distant metastatic lesions demonstrated an objective response, with 16 percent of these patients having a complete response to the treatment.
ONCS is currently trading above their 50-day moving average of 0.1873 and while they trail their 200-day moving average of 0.3361 they are heading in the right direction.
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