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Biotech Stock Mailbag: Celldex, TG Therapeutics, Sarepta

Stocks in this article: OSIR IMUC SRPT CLDX TGTX

TG Therapeutics' market cap is under $100 million, so the stock looks cheap relative to its P113K competitors. Makes total sense. It's also a bit early to conclude anything about the efficacy and safety of TG-1202 relative to its competitors, most of which are well ahead in clinical trials. Data presented last year by the company showed TG-1202 to be roughly comparable to similar drugs in terms of selectivity to the molecular target. A phase I study of TG-1202 in blood cancers started in January.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention the provenance of TG Therapeutics because it will surely give institutional investors with long memories some pause. TG Therapeutics was formerly Manhattan Pharmaceuticals, a Lindsay Rosenwald creation. TG's current CEO is Mike Weiss, a longtime Rosenwald lieutenant who was previously in charge of Keryx Pharmaceuticals (KERX). For every drug out of Rosenwald's stable that shows promise (Keryx's Zerenex) there are many more that end up duds.

It's an issue to think about with respect to TG-1202. Owning a drug in with a hot molecular target is not the same as developing that drug successfully. In the absence of clinical data and in the current bull market, perhaps all that matters is TG Therapeutics' cheap stock relative to its competitors. At least that's what I hear from the biotech trading Twitterati.

@MarvinOLicious tweets, "Do you think $IMUC is hiding something by reporting that of the 278 patients, only 124 qualified to be randomized?"

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics isn't hiding anything but it's silly to talk about 278 patients "enrolled" when, as you said, only 124 were actually randomized into the phase II study of its brain tumor vaccine ICT-107.

The 278 patients represent the total number screened for entry into the trial. Of that, 124 patients were accepted and randomized to ICT-107 or placebo. More than half of screened patients were excluded from the trial because they lacked specific antigens deemed favorable to ICT-107 vaccine.

ImmunoCellular enrolled 124 patients, not 278. Saying otherwise just creates unnecessary confusion. Interim results from the study are expected by the middle of the year, with final results at year's end.

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