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Celsion (NASDAQ:CLSN) is a "leading oncology company" that I've been following very closely since a month or two before the company's Phase III HEAT trial failure that took place in early 2013.
So far, Celsion has been holding up, staying up over $1 steadily since it has first peeked its head back over the $1 line two months ago.
Celsion's stock performance has waned recently - catalyzed by disclosed short sellers lobbing half truths and conjecture about the company - but also, catalyzed by Celsion themselves. What do I mean by that? I'll explain.
Celsion ended last week in good shape, jumping 15% on yet another company issued PR starting that the company was going to be attending an investor conference and making a presentation. In the past, these presentations had sometimes yielded small runups in the stock in the subsequent days, so Friday's trading was likely people wanting to get in before and if this occurs again.
As I stated in a previous article, those who have been invested in Celsion since before the post-Phase III crash in January 2013 are likely to be sitting on losses. Those who have invested afterwards, in what I call the "new" Celsion, were at one point up pretty handsomely - but lately, the price has settled in the $1.10-$1.30 region. My first argument to reinvest in Celsion post-crash came when I wrote an article claiming the new Celsion could, at some point, be worth $4/share. I still maintain this view, but we're going to need the company to "tell us something good". More on this later.
As far as refuting the shorts myths, I've done my part. On August 6th, I wrote an article called "4 More Bearish Celsion Myths Refuted,"which was a second part to an article called "6 New Bearish Celsion Myths Destroyed," that I wrote on June 12th of this year. Both articles systematically dissected ludicrous arguments that were laden with hearsay from anonymous sources and general lack of facts.
I'm Behind The Technology
Celsion's technology is, for lack of better words, really rather cool. They're developing liposomal transport systems for delivering medication through the blood stream. Basically, it's like the water soluble packets you put in your dishwasher - when heat is applied to the area in the body through RFA, the liposomes disband and release the drug that they're carrying. From Celsion's website:
Lysolipid Thermally Sensitive Liposomes, or LTSL's, are a unique liposomal technology that allows for the triggered release of a drug payload through low temperature (just above body temperature) heat activation. Used in combination with heat therapy, this concentrates therapy directly within the treatment area.
Although the company didn't have the results that it was looking for in its ThermoDox Phase III study for liver cancer, the company has postulated a number of factors that could be varied in order to attempt to find a successful niche for their LTSL with use in liver cancer.
In addition, the company is currently conducting its DIGNITY study, which uses the same technology for recurrent chest wall cancer. The company has had great preliminary data for Thermodox with use in this area of the body, and those results will be forthcoming in 2014. To this day, I'm still behind the technology that Celsion has 100%. I'd argue that even though they haven't had success with it yet, there are parameters and drugs that they can switch around to find, at some point, a decent use for their LTSL system.
Now, Tell Me Something Good
For certain other reasons, I'm just starting to get the first suggestion of stagnancy with Celsion - here's why:
1. The Company's PRs Aren't Doing Anything For Me
The company has released a slew of PR's over the past few months, all of which talk about presentations and conferences that the company is going to be attending. All of these PRs have managed to temporarily move the stock, but none of them carry with them news of substance that is going to set CLSN up for a long term move.
While I don't mind the company PRing these items, the patience is starting to just run a little thin - if you've got more promising data from the HEAT trial, run with that. If not, simply attend the conference - constant PRs of this nature (aside from the MAJOR conferences like ASCO) aren't necessary in this investors opinion. Also, I'm worried that eventually they start to do more harm than good for the share price.
2. No Execution of Acquisitions
It's been over two full quarters since the company first suggested the idea of acquisitions to not only bolster its pipeline, but to avoid "having all of its eggs in one basket" with Thermodox. I thought this was a great piece of corporate strategy and got behind it immediately. The company said they had engaged Cantor Fitzgerald to assist with potential M&A, and then a quarter later updated that they had 10 potential candidates that they were looking at.
Everything else that the new company proposed after the HEAT trial, namely downsizing and cost cutting, they've done effectively and I've been happy with them.
But, we're now going on three quarters with no substance on acquisitions. I've argued previously that acquiring a profitable company or a company with a pipeline that compliment's Celsion's strategy could be great moves for the company and for shareholders.
Celsion has done almost the maximum of what they can do without producing any major substance since the HEAT trial failed. The company is moving forward and I'm still extremely confident in the executives running the company as well as the technology.
I realize that getting business done takes time, trust me. My bullish lean on the company, however, could start to fade if Celsion doesn't produce something a bit more tangible in the closing months of 2013. I'd settle for any of the following:
1. News on acquisitions
2. Other corporate strategy changes
3. An update on an FDA meeting for a HEAT re-trial
4. News on the DIGNITY study
So Celsion, help your own cause and make the next thing you disclose something good. QTR remains bullish here still, but cautious. I have since liquidated my previous long position in CLSN, but will consider reentry if the price corrects this coming week.
As always, best of luck to all investors.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in CLSN over the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.