This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Biotech Stock Mailbag: Keryx, Sangamo, Threshold and Amarin

Sangamo shares are up about 60% since the start of the year, not quite a double but still very strong. I saw CEO Ed Lamphier present at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference earlier this month. He tells a compelling investment story about Sangamo's research into "zinc-finger" proteins -- customized drugs that can turn genes on or off in order to treat and cure disease.

Zinc-finger proteins work in plants and in the lab. Sangamo has yet to prove the technology works effectively enough in people. A first stab at a therapy designed to regrow nerves in patients with diabetic neuropathy was unsuccessful. Sangamo has now turned its attention to SB-278. The therapy is designed to genetically alter a patient's T cells to eliminate a protein known as CCR5 used by HIV to invade and infect cells. Without CCR5, cells are much more resistant to HIV infection. Sangamo refers to SB-278 as a potential "functional cure" for HIV because if it works, HIV-infected people might be able to halt treatment with anti-retroviral drugs like those marketed by Gilead Sciences. For newly infected people, treatment with SB-278 could delay or prevent the need for HIV therapy.

Cool stuff. Sangamo has presented some interesting, early data on SB-278 but nothing that demonstrates definitive proof. What we've seen so far from SB-278-treated patients is short-term increases in CD4+ T-cell counts, but is that enough to justify stopping or delaying anti-retroviral therapy? Sangamo's challenge is complicated by the potency of existing HIV drugs, which are capable of reducing viral loads to undetectable levels.

Sangamo is conducting phase II studies of SB-278 with interim results expected in the first half of the year and full results before the end of the year. Anticipation for these important data is probably what's driving investor interest in the stock right now.

There's a possibility that Sangamo snags a late-breaker presentation slot at the 2013 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), scheduled for March 3-6. This is the most important HIV research meeting of the year, so presentation of SB-278 phase II data would be a big deal for Sangamo. Expect to hear something about a CROI presentation (or not) at the end of January.
3 of 5

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AMRN $2.52 2.86%
AEZS $0.27 -1.09%
CELG $119.52 1.10%
KERX $9.67 -1.73%
SGMO $9.97 -1.87%

Markets

DOW 17,730.11 -27.80 -0.16%
S&P 500 2,076.78 -0.64 -0.03%
NASDAQ 5,009.2140 -3.9090 -0.08%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs