SAN FRANCISCO (TheStreet) -- While you were (hopefully) enjoying some time off this weekend, I was sitting in a convention center here writing about biotech and drug companies presenting new data on blood-related cancers and diseases at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting.
Don't feel too bad for me. I did manage to sneak some fun time in the City by the Bay, in between writing about lymphoma, leukemia and beta-thalassemia. It's Monday, so all those ASH biotech and drug stocks are about to start trading. Here's a cheat sheet for what you need to know.
1. The Agios Pharmaceuticals (AGIO - Get Report) AG-221 data in relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia were presented to a standing room crowd on Sunday afternoon. This was definitely a highlight of the ASH meeting. The genetic mutations responsible for cancer are being turned on their head to create highly targeted and effective medicines. And because these targeted drugs are matched to suitable patients, clinical development moves fast. Pivotal studies designed to get AG-221 approved will be started next year, Agios and partner Celgene (CELG - Get Report) announced.
If there's a debate among investors about Agios coming out of this weekend's ASH meeting, it's probably around what to do with a valuation that might be getting a bit stretched due to incredible performance of the stock this year. If there's a post-ASH sell off, I expect the dips to be bought by people who missed Agios' run the first time.
2. The new form of cancer immunotherapy known as CAR-T continues to post amazing results in B-cell cancers. I wrote about the 90%-plus cure rate seen in kids with agressive form of leukemia following treatment with a CAR-T therapy developed by the University of Pennsylvania and Novartis (NVS - Get Report) .
I wasn't there, but a special symposium on CAR-T therapies held Sunday morning generated some awe-struck tweets from the biotech-twitter crowd in attendance. It sounded like part rock concert, part revival meeting.
V nice talk from Carl June. Next up is Steve Rosenberg. It's like sitting at the feet of the Immunotherapy Gods— Sally Church (@MaverickNY) December 7, 2014
Coming out of this ASH meeting, expect the investor frenzy for CAR-T companies to escalate. The upcoming Juno Therapeutics initial public offering is going to be insane. Other CAR-T companies include Kite Therapeutics (KITE) and a joint venture between Celgene and Bluebird Bio (BLUE - Get Report) .
3. Speaking of ... From a Wall Street perspective, the ASH annual meeting is almost always dominated by Celgene and its Revlimid multiple myeloma blockbuster juggernaut. Not this weekend, not this meeting. While Celgene certainly had its share of data presentations, the company's presence on the podium was noticeably downsized.
With that said, ASH 2014 was tremendous for Celgene partners: Agios, as I already mentioned, but also Acceleron (XLRN - Get Report) , Epizyme (EPZM) and Bluebird are all killing it this year. So by proxy, ASH 2014 was a big win for Celgene. Its super-smart business development efforts are paying off in a big way. [I wrote about two Acceleron drugs which are treating anemia in an entirely new way.]
4. Amgen (AMGN) had a very good weekend in San Francisco. Doctors I spoke with and heard from were effusive in their praise for the multiple myeloma drug Kyprolis based on results from the ASPIRE study. And FDA did Amgen a big favor by approving the novel immunotherapy Blincyto right before we all arrived here.
5. More immunotherapy: The so-called PD-1s, or checkpoints inhibitors, from Merck (MRK - Get Report) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY - Get Report) made their blood cancer debut at ASH 2014. Results were impressive and have a lot of people excited about their future role in blood cancers much they way the drugs are already setting new treatment standards in solid tumors.
6. Seattle Genetics (SGEN - Get Report) will continue to be a battleground for bulls and bears on Wall Street.
7. ASH should be embarrassed by its decision to include a flawed and in many ways misleading analysis of vosaroxin, the failed leukemia drug from Sunesis Pharmaceuticals (SNSS) in its media press briefings. This was a black mark on what was an otherwise very positive meeting.