NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Clinical trials with a tight timeline for data release provide an excellent way for traders to profit from the anticipatory run-up in stock price, while also managing the risk of getting caught when data are released.
Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners (CPRX) demonstrated nicely last week the benefit of knowing when to exit a run-up trade before clinical trial data is announced. Catalyst told us to expect results from a study of its cocaine addiction drug during the first half of November. This gave traders ample time to play a run-up in Catalyst's stock price from 67 cents per share to a peak of $2.27 per share before exiting positions by Nov. 1. A week later, Catalyst announced the failure of its cocaine addiction drug, sending the company's stock price cratering down to around 40 cents per share.
Celsion (CLSN - Get Report) is a new run-up trading opportunity. Last Friday, the company announced the 380th progression event in its pivotal Thermodox liver cancer trial. This event triggers the data collection and analysis process by the study's independent monitors. Celsion said it expects to announce top-line results from the Thermodox study in January 2013.
The run-up trade in Celsion is already underway, with shares up 22% to $5.34 since Friday.Celsion's market cap is only $187 million so positive results from the Thermodox study are likely to send the company's stock price soaring. Shares hit a recent high of $6.09 in late September. Barring a major market correction, I expect Celsion shares to continue higher as the January release of the Thermodox data nears. Cautious run-up traders should exit positions before the end of the year to avoid being caught long when the Thermodox results are announced. If you're thinking about holding a position through the results, I recommend taking profits on your initial trade and keeping "free shares" only. Those who like to trade using options can roll run-up profits into Calls that expire after data are expected. Because we don't know exactly when in January Celsion will release Thermodox data, it's safest to use your profits to buy calls that expire in February 2013. Messier has no position in Celsion.