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Synta Is Run-Up to ASCO Lung Cancer Data

LEXINGTON, Calif ( TheStreet) -- Biotech run-up traders should be looking at a potentially valuable clinical trial catalyst with Synta Pharmaceuticals (SNTA) .

Synta is scheduled to present updated results from phase II (GALAXY-1) portion of its ganetespib lung cancer study on June 3rd at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting. Most the ASCO research abstracts are slated to be released on Wednesday, however, the Synta data have been classified as a "late breaker" and are therefore embargoed until the actual day of presentation.

The lung cancer market is worth billions of dollars in annual sales, so investors will be eyeing the gantespib data closely. Synta's market valuation of $500 million doesn't price in the overall ganetespib market opportunity, especially if the drug's use can be expanded beyond lung cancer into other tumor types.

Synta has a decent balance sheet for a small-cap biotech. As of March 31, Synta has $90.4M in cash, sufficient to fund planned operations into the second quarter of 2014. The company's outstanding share count totals 69 million and it carries $23.6M in total debt.

Shares of Synta were trading close to $11 as recently as May 1, before taking a huge hit and dropping down to a low of $6.60 on the surprise resignation of R&D Chief Dr. Sumant Ramachandra. Investors and traders looked at this resignation as a bad sign, ahead of the expected ASCO data presentation.

I believe investors overreacted to Ramachandra's resignation, especially considering he only worked at Synta for six weeks and was commuting long distance from Chicago to the company's headquarters outside Boston. Ramachandra cited personal reasons for leaving the company and on Tuesday, he rejoined his former employer, Hospira (HSP), headquartered in Chicago, as its chief scientific officer.

So, it seems like Ramachandra really did leave Synta only for personal reasons stemming from his long commute. That means the dip in Synta's stock price created a great buying opportunity for run-up traders heading into the June 3 presentation of the ganetespib data at ASCO.

If Synta shares simply recover back the level before Ramachandra's resignation was announced, it would represent a nearly 30% gain over current share price. The market, at times, has a very short memory and I feel that Synta has a very good chance to recover back to $10 within the next few weeks. As always, run-up traders should exit their positions before the ganetespib data are released on June 3.

Messier is long Synta.
Mark Messier is the founder of Messier is a DOJ-certified Criminal Intelligence Analyst and former IT professional, specializing in law enforcement applications. In 2008, Messier began trading biotech stocks, using his analytical expertise to detect and capitalize on human and market patterns. Starting with only $2,200 in his trading account, he has booked over $400,000 in profit in just 4 years. In April 2010, Messier founded the subscription-based stock-trading web site to share his biotech trading ideas with the online investor community. Messier enjoys spending time with his wife and two young boys and visiting his "home away from home" in Costa Rica.

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