Just when it looks like shares of Oncothyreon (ONTY) might stall, they keep climbing higher and higher, nearly touching the $10 mark not too long ago.
To close last week, in fact, shares just about touched the 52-week high on volume of nearly $10 million; significant in itself because the daily trading norm for ONTY is less then one million.
A mention by Jim Cramer on "Mad Money" might have had something to do with the heavy attention paid to Oncothyreon on Friday, but the stock was doing just fine with itself even before the mention.
Oncothyreon's impressive price run was bringing attention to other cancer vaccine stocks, too. Shares of Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN) - as much as a high-flyer it already is - has been in the spotlight of late with a couple of pending catalysts that include FDA manufacturing approvals.
That said, now with a market cap approaching four hundred million, how high can ONTY shares fly before sputtering?
While an interim look at the data from the company's Phase III Stimuvax trials for non-small cell lung cancer, being conducted in conjunction with German partner Merck KGaA (OTCPK:MKGAF), might start leaking late this year, full results are not due until 2012.
In the world of biotech stock investing, that's an awfully long time to expect sustained upside without a significant catalyst.
It's also worth noting that many stocks tend to drift lower after an initial "Cramer Spike," so I'd be a little hesitant to hold everything at Friday's closing level, let alone jump all-in right now.
Conversely, I'm always a fan of taking some proftits off the table into significant runs, and the run experienced by ONTY through the course of 2011 has been enough to justify taking a little from the profit jar.
If Stimuvax is proven successful, then there's little doubt that ONTY will turn into a stock like DNDN - with a market cap in the billions - but until that time, expect some volatility and keep in mind the speculative nature of cancer vaccine stocks.
I'd say play it, but play it smart.
Sometimes there's nothing wrong with watching from the sidelines for a little while.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.