Geron Corporation (NASDAQ:GERN) is a biopharmaceutical company developing therapies for cancer. The Company currently has two product candidates in clinical development, imetelstat and GRN1005. Imetelstat is a telomerase inhibitor that is being evaluated in four Phase II clinical trials: metastatic breast cancer, advanced non-small cell lung cancer, essential thrombocythemia and multiple myeloma. GRN1005 is a peptide-drug conjugate that is designed to transport an anti-cancer drug, paclitaxel, across the blood-brain barrier by targeting low-density lipoprotein receptor-related proteins.
Recent Catalysts for an upward trend:
Geron Corporation announced on January 7th that on January 4, 2013, it entered into an Asset Contribution Agreement with BioTime, Inc. (NYSE: BTX). Under the terms of the Agreement, Geron will contribute to BioTime its intellectual property, cell lines and other assets related to Geron's discontinued human embryonic stem cell programs, including the Phase I clinical trial in patients with acute spinal cord injury, as well as its autologous cellular immunotherapy program. Geron will receive approximately 6.5 million shares of Series A Common Stock of BAC, a subsidiary of BioTime. BioTime will contribute to BAC $5 million in cash, approximately 8.9 million shares of BioTime common stock to be held by BAC, five-year warrants to purchase 8 million shares of BioTime common stock at an exercise price of $5.00 per share.
Further, Stephen Brozak, an expert on embryonic stem lines, commented in Life Sciences Report, on January 24th that he is bullish on BioTime after they entered into this agreement with Geron.
Last month on December 10th, the company reported early clinical trial results for its drug imetelstat as a treatment for a blood platelet disorder. Geron said 100 percent of patients responded to the drug, and most patients who had a specific gene mutation responded to the drug. The results come from 14 patients with essential thrombocytopenia who were not helped by other treatments or could not tolerate the side effects of those treatments.
On January 18th, Piper Jaffray just covered the stock with an "Outperform" rating with a $3 a share price target, Piper Jaffray commented, "Geron is focused on developing drugs from its novel telomerase-inhibitor platform and its 1st-in-class compound imetelstat is targeting hematological indications. The mechanistic logic behind the use of imetelstat to treat hematological malignancies is sound, in our view, and is supported by early clinical evidence in this setting, most recently presented at ASH '12. We view the current valuation of GERN shares as pricing in the past programmatic challenges and thus limiting downside, with substantial upside potential as more data and visibility of clinical progress emerges over the course of 2013/1H14."
Roughly 48% of the company's market capitalization is the net cash on its balance sheet. Given the company's reduced pipeline, cash burn should also slow. Therefore investors have what to rely on making this biotech investment not too risky.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.