Timeless Wealth is compensated for research coverage, which denotes a clear bias to our investment opinion. We believe that our research is objective, weighing both the risks and rewards of an investment opportunity. However, our end goal is to highlight firms that we believe are innovative and offer compelling investment propositions. As such, we turn our attention to Los Angeles, California-based ImmunoCellular Therapeutics.
It stands that as of Wednesday, shares of ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (IMUC.OB) have closed above the $2 threshold for 16 consecutive sessions - the most since marking a new 52-week high in March. ImmunoCellular Therapeutics CEO, Dr. Manish Singh, told us earlier this year that his firm would pursue listing their common stock on a national exchange to gain visibility, liquidity and suitability for a broader group of investors (more on this in a moment). Prior to our interview with Dr. Singh, we explained how a successful private placement already qualified ImmunoCellular Therapeutics for listing on the NYSE Amex under "standard 3" (observe below).
In mid-May, ImmunoCellular Therapeutics filed its quarterly report, confirming our theory that the firm met listing requirements set by the NYSE Amex. Shareholders' equity registered above the required $4 million; market capitalization rung north of the minimally permissible $50 million. Unfortunately, at the time, the stock price did not conform.
Rich Adamonis, a spokesperson for the NYSE, told us over the phone that the approval process for listing on the NYSE Amex typically takes from 3-6 weeks. Assuming ImmunoCellular Therapeutics submitted an application to the Amex sometime last month (when the share price broke above $2), the company could get the "go ahead" as early as August, as all listing requirements are now met.
However, the listing itself isn't a big deal - it's everything that could come with it that is.
Funds, for instance, are often restricted from buying into companies that trade over-the-counter. Upon listing on the Amex, this restriction would be relieved, allowing greater investment to potentially flow towards ImmunoCellular Therapeutics. Additionally, the uplisting could bear inclusion into a number of small cap indices like the Wilshire U.S. Micro Cap Index, which is tracked by the Wilshire Micro Cap ETF (WMCR), Bridgeway Ultra-Small Company Market Fund (BRSIX), iShares Russell Microcap ETF (IWC), First Trust Dow Jones Select MicroCap ETF (FDM), and a host of others, including industry-specific indices like the Amex Biotechnology Index (ABT).
Inclusion in any index almost instantaneously registers new institutional holders in a company, as funds that mirror an index allocate shares of the newly included company to rebalance their portfolios. This takes from the float, which puts upwards pressure on the share price.
ImmunoCellular Therapeutics is roughly 32% owned by insiders; 11% belongs to funds. Dafna Capital Management LLC is one of two funds that recently started a position in ImmunoCellular Therapeutics. The fund's chief investment officer was interviewed by Reuters and had the following to say on the topic of biotech companies that are focused on cancer being hot acquisition targets:
"We have seen some very successful oncology drugs," said Fariba Ghodsian, chief investment officer at hedge fund DAFNA Capital. "Novel drugs with novel targets are in demand."
According to NASDAQ.COM, Dafna Capital's largest allocation is in Pharmacyclics Inc. (PCYC), a clinical-stage oncology firm focused on developing and commercializing small-molecule drugs for the treatment of immune mediated disease and cancer. Threshold Pharmaceuticals (THLD) and YM Biosciences (YMI) are the only other oncology holdings among the fund's top 10. ImmunoCellular Therapeutics provides Dafna Capital exposure to an exciting and novel technology in immunotherapy, perhaps modeling Dendreon (DNDN) at a less 'expensive share price', to quote the Reuters columnist. One share of ImmunoCellular Therapeutics’ currently trades for about 1/100th of one share of Dendreon.
ImmunoCellular Therapeutics expects interim results from their Phase II study of ICT-107 in patients with glioblastoma multiforme in the second half of 2012. Phase I studies returned fantastic results with 80% overall survival at the two-year mark compared with historical standard-of-care survival of just 26.5%; median progression free survival of 16.9 months compared to the historic median PFS of 6.9 months. According to the same source, the company will also be filing an Investigational New Drug application with the FDA to move ICT-140, a vaccine for the treatment of ovarian cancer, into clinical studies early next year.
Disclosure: I am long IMUC.OB. ImmunoCellular Therapeutics is a client company of Timeless Wealth, which receives a retainer for providing research coverage. In February, we agreed to provide coverage of ImmunoCellular Therapeutics for a period of three months; we extended our contract in May. The views expressed are purely our own.