GenVec Financing Sinks Shares: BioBuzz - TheStreet

GenVec Financing Sinks Shares: BioBuzz

Offering comes right before data read-out from a crucial cancer drug trial.
Publish date:



) -- Shares of



are down 23% Wednesday after the tiny drug maker said it had sold 14 million shares of stock and another 4.2 million warrants, raising net proceeds of $26.2 million.

The GenVec offering of units consisting of stock and warrants, priced at $2 per unit, comes predictably after a run in GenVec's stock price, which has essentially doubled since December. The stock closed Tuesday at $2.47. In recent trading, shares were down to $1.88.

Biotech, especially small-cap biotechs, do one thing exceptionally well -- raise money. Investors take note.

"Dilution is the name of the game after big runs in the market, especially in a market place where all small bios are raising cash as a group," says JohnWelshPhd, a savvy trader, including of small-cap biotech stocks, who I follow on



When news of the GenVec offering broke, JohnWelshPhd


, "Surprise factor zero."

So true.

Now, the $26 million dollar question is whether Wednesday's financing implies anything about the upcoming interim analysis of the phase III study of

TNFerade in pancreatic cancer


Is GenVec simply being opportunistic about raising money ahead of this important, potentially stock-moving event? Or, is the company fearful that the TNFerade results will be negative, so it's getting the money now while it can?

No one but GenVec knows the answer, of course, and executives aren't about to tell us. When

Cell Therapeutics

(CTIC) - Get Report

raised money a couple of weeks ago, just before the FDA advisory panel for its lymphoma drug pixantrone, I wrote that that it

presaged bad things

for the drug.

GenVec isn't Cell Therapeutics, so I'm not sure I'd draw the same conclusion here, but still, any financing in front of a big catalyst is going to furrow some brows.

Gilead Sciences Strong Like Bull

(At 7:36 AM EST)

Gilead Sciences

(GILD) - Get Report

typically gives conservative product sales guidance on its January conference calls, so it certainly was a pleasant surprise to hear the company last night forecast 2010 product sales in the range of $7.6 billion to $7.7 billion -- already well ahead of the Street consensus of $7.48 billion.

Couple Gilead's bullish revenue outlook with lower-than-expected expense and tax guidance, and you've got the makings for a very strong year ahead.

Gilead is still very much a g-r-o-w-t-h story, despite opinions to the contrary which kept the stock underwater for most of 2009. HIV drug sales grew 11% quarter over quarter and 30% year over year. On its call last night, Gilead gave every indication that demand and growth in HIV is still strong and will continue. Even Gilead's struggling cardiovascular drug franchise, led by the angina drug Ranexa, appears to be on the rebound.

Tuesday night, Deutsche Bank's biotech analyst Mark Schoenebaum put all the numbers together and came back with an "implied" 2010 earnings range for Gilead of $3.48 to $3.78 a share. Analyst consensus going into Tuesday's call was $3.26 a share. (Gilead does not give earnings guidance.)

What this also implies is that Gilead's Tuesday closing price of $44.87 significantly undervalues the company, whether investors want to view it as an earnings story alone, or better yet, as a great drug pipeline story with products like the

HIV "Quad pill"

data being presented next month.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

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Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback;

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