Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Five Biotech Stocks to Watch Going into Big Doctors' Meeting


Celgene, Seattle Genetics, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Incyte are among companies to keep an eye on over the next few days as doctors pour over research on drugs to treat blood disorders.

If you're in the business of treating blood diseases, San Diego is the place to be this weekend. The annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology may not sound like the most rocking event, but it's likely to produce some market-moving news for some drug makers.

Here are five stocks to watch over the next several days (the conference runs Saturday through Tuesday) as companies present research at a meeting of docs specializing in blood disorders.

Celgene (CELG)
Blood cancer drug Revlimid is Celgene's biggest product, accounting for $2.5 billion in revenue, almost 70% of the company's total sales last year. Celgene is hoping to get much more future revenue out of the product. Already OK'd as a secondary treatment for multiple myeloma and for anemia associated with another rare disease, Celgene is studying the drug for at least three more potential US approvals, including for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Celgene's Revlimid studies will be in focus as the company eyes expanded use for the drug. Investors also will want to pay attention to an experimental drug, pomalidomide. Celgene has said it may file for approval of pomalidomide for the treatment of the diseases myleofibrosis and multiple myeloma by the end of the year. As is this case with Revlimid, pomalidomide is a derivative of the notorious drug thalidomide, a morning sickness treatment pulled from the market decades ago after being linked to birth defects.

Some analysts feel that Celgene's stock is undervalued. Trading at $61.29 at close Thursday, the shares are down 6% over the past month. Robert W. Baird analyst Christopher Raymond recommends buying the stock and sets a $71 price target. JMP Securities analyst Charles Duncan is even more bullish with a $77 target.

Seattle Genetics (SGEN)
Seattle Genetics will present data for its drug Adcetris, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in August as a secondary treatment for a pair of blood cancers -- Hodgkin lymphoma and anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or ALCL. (See Seattle Genetics Slaps Big Price on New Cancer Drug.) The company and partner Takeda Pharmaceutical of Japan will make presentations of research on the drug.

A presentation that's likely to spur much interest is scheduled Tuesday when the company shows data for an early study of the drug as a first treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma. Positive news signaling that Adcetris can be used as a first-line treatment for cancer would add a spark to the shares. (See Seattle Genetics Is Oversold, Analyst Says.)

Specifically, the company will present data of a study testing whether Adcetris could replace one of four drugs now being used as a first treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma. Eliminating the drug bleomycin would remove the most toxic chemotherapy drug, "changing the paradigm" for treatment of patients, Seattle Genetics CEO Clay Siegall says.

There's been no change in therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma in more than 30 years, Siegall says in an interview. "We want to redefine the front-line therapy," he says.

If Adcetris proves to be safe and effective as an initial treatment, Seattle Genetics will move ahead with a larger study, potentially seeking US approval within the next few years.

Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX)
Onyx recently asked the FDA to approve its drug carfilzomib for multiple myeloma. In fact, it's hoping for a priority review of the drug based on mid-stage study data. Onyx will make multiple presentations on carfilzomib during the meeting.

The drug is being tested with other medicines in patients who relapsed. Survival rate for multiple myeloma is low in part because patients relapse or the cancer becomes resistant to treatment. More than 50,000 people in the US have the disease with about 20,000 new cases diagnosed each year, estimates show.

A recent survey of physicians by Robert W. Baird found that there is a growing awareness of carfilzomib. However, the drug is in a race to market with Celgene's pomalidomide.

Onyx shares are up more than 20% over the past three months but have been declining this week, trading just above $40 Thursday.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals (ARIA)
Ariad is presenting study data on ponatinib, a drug aimed at treating two types of leukemia. Ariad's focus is on treating patients who are resistant to current therapies. Novartis (NVS) sells Tasigna and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) markets Sprycel to treat the diseases.

Shares of the company have more than doubled this year, trading at $11.15 Thursday. The company has other drugs in development, including an experimental treatment with Merck (MRK) for bone and breast cancers.

As for ponatinib, Ariad is farthest along testing the drug for two cancers that affect white blood cell production -- chronic myeloid leukemia, or CML, and Philadelphia-chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Treatment for these cancers, which is caused by genetic abnormality, is already a more than $5 billion market, according to Leerink Swann analyst Howard Liang.

Incyte (INCY)
Despite winning US approval for its myelofibrosis drug Jakafi last month, Incyte shares are down 19% on the year, closing Thursday at $13.40.

CEO Paul Friedman is trying to manage expectations for the drug's launch as he's aware over promising on a revenue forecast can lead to a mass sell-off of his company's stock down the road. Still, he wants investors to appreciate the value of Jakafi, the first of a new class of drugs known as JAK inhibitors to reach the market. (See Incyte CEO Touts Prospects of New Cancer Drug.)

Positive study data coming out of the conference for Jakafi may help boost the shares. Some analysts say the stock is undervalued. Baird analyst Thomas Russo, for instance, has a $24 price target on the shares.

Twitter: @brettchase

Follow the markets all day every day with a FREE 14 day trial to Buzz & Banter. Over 30 professional traders share their ideas in real-time. Learn more.
< Previous
  • 1
Next >
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Videos