2 Attractive But Very Speculative Biotech Plays

| About: Cancer Genetics, (CGIX)

Small biotech Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CTIC) should be up nicely in trading Friday. The company announced it has entered into a licensing agreement for the development and commercialization of pacritinib (An inhibitor that's currently in Phase 3 testing for myelofibrosis) with Baxter (NYSE:BAX). The agreement calls for a substantial upfront payment as well as significant possible milestone payouts.

I own and recently profiled Cell Therapeutics in late October on these pages. Regular readers of my columns know I take a "shotgun" approach to biotech investing. This sector has more failures than any other area in the market. It is only prudent to spread your bets around by taking smaller positions in more stocks that an investor would in other sectors.

With that in mind and with the "victory" on Cell Therapeutics still being savored, here are two more attractive but speculative biotech plays.

Cancer Genetics (NASDAQ:CGIX) is an early-stage diagnostics company that focuses on the development and commercialization of proprietary genomic tests and services to improve and personalize the diagnosis, prognosis and response to the treatment of cancer. The company came public earlier in the year in April.

The company has a robust balance sheet after raising just over $45mm in a secondary offering. In its last quarterly report, it posted a loss but revenues came in above the consensus. Analysts believe revenue should nearly triple next year to ~$20mm as its variety of tests catch on in the marketplace.

The few analysts that cover the company are extremely positive on this biotech testing play. The two analysts who have price targets on the shares believe the stock has substantial upside. Feltl has a "Strong Buy" and a $30.50 a share price target on CGIX, double its current price of ~$15 a share. Aegis Capital just moved its price target up from $25 a share to $32 a share and has a "Buy" rating on the shares.

Synageva BioPharma (NASDAQ:GEVA) is an early stage biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of therapeutic products for patients with life-threatening rare diseases and unmet medical needs. Synageva's lead candidate is sebelipase, an enzyme replacement therapy.

Goldman Sachs initiated the shares as a "Buy" earlier today with a $72 a share price target on the shares, just under $20 a share above GEVA's current stock price. Goldman is positive on the trials of sebelipase and believes if the compound gains approval it could "unlock" a $1B market opportunity.

The seven other analysts who cover the stock have a $67 a share median price target on the shares as well. The company came public in 2011 and insiders have a substantial stake in the firm. Two insiders bought over 1mm shares each in late September at higher prices.

The company has a robust balance sheet with over $400mm in net cash on the books after doing a secondary offering of 2.75mm shares (Most of the shares were bought by two insiders). This should be more than adequate funding to bring its products to market without having to raise additional funds.

Disclosure: I am long CTIC. 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.