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

Biotech Stock Mailbag: Celldex, Exelixis, Geron, NPS Pharma

Yet Geron, stubbornly, refuses to die. The latest -- and perhaps last -- comeback attempt has the company betting it all on imetelstat in myelofibrosis. The Mayo Clinic is running a small, early-stage study and recently informed Geron that at least two responses to imetelstat were reported in two different dosing cohorts of 11 patients each. A third cohort of patients is now enrolling in the study. [The principal investigator of the imetelstat study is Dr. Ayalew Tefferi, which will make investors who pay close attention to myelofibrosis drug development either cheer or jeer. He's a polarizing guy.]

Tefferi will be presenting these interim imetelstat data at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting in early December. Geron has already told investors that it will likely start its own multi-center study of imetelstat in myelofibrosis, based on what it believes are promising results from the Mayo study.

I'd caution to wait until we see these Tefferi imetelstat data at ASH before reaching any conclusions about Geron's viability.

But remember what I said above about investors wanting to own biotech stocks regardless of the risks involved? Well, imetelstat hasn't been declared dead yet officially, which explains why Geron's chart looks like this for the past three months: GERN Chart GERN data by YCharts

Geron's fully diluted market cap today is approaching $500 million, which is what Gilead Sciences (GILD) paid to acquire YM BioSciences and its myelofibrosis drug CYT387 (since renamed momelotinib.) The difference is that momelotinib was ready to enter phase III studies when Gilead picked it up. Geron's imetelstat isn't there yet and we have no real clue if the drug's efficacy and safety are comparable to competing myelofibrosis drugs.

If momelotinib isn't more effective or safer than Incyte's (INCY) Jakafi, for example, Geron will have a tough time justifying the expense of moving the drug forward.

You're right, the concerns I raised about insurers pushing back on NPS Pharmaceuticals (NPSP) due to the high cost of Gattex were wrong. NPS has done very well with the Gattex launch and the stock has reacted accordingly: NPSP Chart NPSP data by YCharts

I still believe the risk of insurers putting more reimbursement restrictions on high-priced orphan drugs exists, but I admit evidence of a clampdown to date is scant and I was clearly wrong about NPS Pharma. To their credit, my colleagues at TheStreet Jim Cramer and David Peltier have both been enthusiastic supporters of NPS this year.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

Follow Adam Feuerstein on Twitter.
Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.
4 of 4

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
CLDX $3.50 -8.60%
EXEL $4.70 8.40%
GERN $2.70 -1.10%
NPSP $45.97 0.02%
AAPL $93.21 -0.44%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,660.71 +9.45 0.05%
S&P 500 2,050.60 -0.52 -0.03%
NASDAQ 4,717.0940 -8.5450 -0.18%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs