This Day On The Street
Continue to site
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

Bluebird Surges: Hot Biotech IPO Lacking Human Clinical Data

In order to generate a more consistent and precise insertion, Bluebird developed LentiGlobin with a different viral vector. The belief is that this new version of the drug will both decrease the risks of off-target gene insertion while mimicking (if not increasing) the efficacy. That being said, this new vector has not been dosed in humans and the IPO money will be used for a phase I/II trial.

Aside from the Lenti family of drugs, Bluebird also has a preclinical program in chimeric antigen receptor T-cells. The goal is to modify the T-cells to target specific cancer cells and re-infuse them back into the patient. There was some excitement generating at the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting about other CAR T trials but the Bluebird Bio program remains preclinical with no data from use in humans.

So the question remains: What to make of the Bluebird IPO? Gene therapy has been around for awhile with limited success (Sangamo continues to struggle with its technology) because delivering genes into cells remains a challenge. Bluebird believes it has addressed this issue with their lentiviral vectors but we have limited clinical data to assess this claim. This both increases the risk as well as the potential rewards.

Of course, Bluebird also has its earlier program in CAR T, which is a hot area in oncology drug development. Celgene (CELG - Get Report) has taken an interest in Bluebird's work and signed on as a partner and investor. Given the lack of clinical data across the pipeline, the Celgene partnership is an important validation of Bluebird and its technology. Even successful, large-cap biotech companies make mistakes but Celgene's involvement with Bluebird de-risks the CART program by providing not just the validation but a source of non-dilutive capital. While the gene therapy aspect of Bluebird is interesting and will likely provide the nearest term catalysts, I think investors will be just as (if not more) interested in the CAR T program as this will be the only publicly traded company working in the area.

All of that being said, investors need to be careful and recognize the increased risks associated with a company that has such limited clinical data on their pipeline.

Sobek is long Celgene.
David Sobek has been writing on biotech for a number of years through various outlets with a general focus on small cap oncology and antibiotics companies. He received his PhD in political science from Pennsylvnia State Univeristy in 2003 and a BA in international relations from The College of William and Mary in 1997.
2 of 2

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
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
BLUE $92.63 3.50%
CELG $112.75 0.36%
SGMO $7.98 5.30%
AAPL $117.82 -0.18%
FB $105.45 0.04%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,798.49 -14.90 -0.08%
S&P 500 2,090.11 +1.24 0.06%
NASDAQ 5,127.5250 +11.3820 0.22%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs