As volatility abounds with the economic news from Europe, here's some stocks and stories to watch this week ...
DNDN: Shares of Dendreon (DNDN) were hammered again earlier this month after the company announced another round of subpar Provenge sales numbers for the third quarter, although enough hope remained that a rebound in sales could be possible to send shares back to over the seven dollar mark rather quickly.
What may really be killing Dendreon at this point, however, is that the early troubles created by Provenge's high price of treatment have allowed investors to take note of competitors who have caught up, and maybe even surpassed, the potential of Provenge in treating prostate cancer.
First it was Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Zytiga that dominated the headlines as potentially eating into the Provenge market, but now Medivation Inc. (MDVN) and Astellas Pharma Inc. (ALPMY.PK) are stealing headlines for extending the lives of prostate cancer patients with the same success as Provenge.
When it's all said and done, however, Provenge has still raked in $145.6 million through the first three quarters of 2011, well below the original estimates of up to $500 million, but still a demonstration of significant growth. About $65.8 of that number came last quarter, but the company continues to forecast slowing growth, making DNDN a high risk play.
As always, though, it's also a potential high reward play, especially from these prices.
AMPE: Ampio Pharmaceuticals (AMPE) has been releasing a steady dose of positive news over the past few months, and that trend continued last week when the company announced positive results from a study that measured the effectiveness of lead product candidate Ampion in treating patients with nasal inflammation.
With Ampion potentially being positioned to play a significant role in the future market for anti-inflammatories, these most recent trial results provide additional validation of its effectiveness in that role.
As previously discussed, Ampion, as a molecule already produced by the human body (as albumin), is a considered a biologic with an already-established safety profile, which should make its path to FDA approval quicker than other drugs that are starting from scratch.
Ampion also demonstrated efficacy in treating osteoarthritis in the knee, giving Ampio various angles for which to target FDA approval.
Shares of AMPE have steadied at right around the seven dollar mark on the slew of positive news, but other catalysts are still pending with Optina trials due to conclude early next year for diabetic macular edema and other licensing deals potentially in the works for the sexual dysfunction drug, Zertane.
NFLX: Since announcing and then reversing the questionable decision to split its DVD-by-mail and streaming video services, shares of Netflix (NFLX) have dipped to well below eighty dollars, and then rebounded to over ninety in short order.
In a volatile ride, share hit the mid-eighties again before rebounding by over three percent on Friday to close the week at $87.75.
The volatility is likely to continue for Netflix, especially in this market, but a move back to previously-traded levels is possible as investors - and more importantly, customers - forget the silly decisions of the past and start buying back into the service that essentially put Blockbuster out of business.
Unfortunately for Netflix, the recent slides have allowed competitors to start circling the company's dominance, giving those still short a valid argument that the downturn might not be over.
CCLR: Chanticleer Holdings (CCLRD.PK) continues to trade under the radar, but with a well-recognized, all-American brand name in its asset corner, it might not be an unknown for too long. Through an agreement with the late Robert Brooks, who grew the Hooters enterprise from a small chain into an American icon, Mike Pruitt of Chanticleer Holdings was able to secure a first right of refusal for the Hooters brand, should it ever go up for sale.
By gathering some serious investor backing, Mr. Pruitt exercised his first right and landed the coveted Hooters name.
Chanticleer has since opened numerous Hooters locations in high-growth areas such as South Africa and Australia, and is following in the footsteps of other highly successful American chains that have succeeded overseas, such as McDonald's (MCD), Yum brands (YUM), and TGIFriday's.
With continued growth in existing locations planned, and a possible expansion into other high-growth markets, it's worth keeping an eye on CCLR.
TTNP: Attention is back on Titan Pharmaceuticals (TTNP.OB) after a positive meeting with the FDA last month regarding the approval path for its opioid addiction treatment Probuphine, but after an initial spike following the news, TTNP shares have settled again below the $1.50 mark in anticipation of further clarification of a Probuphine timeline.
Many expect Titan to partner the product, and more insight into that scenario may be given during Thursday's conference call.
Keep an eye on Titan this week. Shares have traded with volatility of late, along with the rest of the market, but this week's conference call could provide the short term catalyst that some are looking for.
Should the company have significant news to announce outside of earnings, however, expect it to be released before the call.
CELH: Celsius Holdings (CELH.PK) might be back in business again after announcing third quarter results encouraging enough to believe that the company has the ability to exercise a turnaround.
Earnings from sales of the functional beverage, Celsius, were $2.5 million, up from about $2 million during the previous quarter and up 47% from the same quarter of the previous year. The increased sales number, however, was not entirely due to new product sales, but as the result of a reduction of discounts and promotions this year as compared to last year's third quarter, according to the company's earnings release.
In additional news, the company announced that Steve Haley is out as CEO and Gerry David has been appointed as the new president and CEO. A significant amount of debt due to mature next year has been pushed back to 2014, while it was also noted that Carl DeSantis has increased his beneficial ownership in the company's outstanding common shares from 42% to 52%.
The marketing plan for 2012 involves social/digital media, Direct Response TV, Electronic Retail TV and promotional sampling, and does not include Mario Lopez, who failed at promoting the brand to success during the previous large-scale campaign.
Sales have stabilized during 2011, indicating a loyal consumer base on which the company could improve, but it's time again for the company to demonstrate quarter over quarter growth that is not the result of canceled discounts.
With new life now leading the Celsius charge, it'll be worth seeing if the share price can turn around along with the company.
MNKD: Mannkind (MNKD) has been attracting increasing attention over the past weeks with a short percentage of 30% to go along with an increase of insider purchases over the past few months. Although MNKD has been beaten down pretty significantly since the FDA asked for new Afrezza trials, the stock could now be positioned as a short squeeze candidate, should any news materialize that would spur mass covering by the significant short interest.
The time to accumulate may be passing, as Afrezza's market potential as a needless method of delivering insulin to diabetics could be significant. Afrezza also looks to have taken the lead to market over Generex's (GNBT.OB) insulin spray Oral-lyn, for which the FDA also asked for additional trial data.
Keep an eye on this one, if it moves, it could move quick.
LPTN: With a big-time partner already landed for its novel and unique technology, it might be time to start keeping an eye on Lpath, Inc. (LPTN.OB). Lpath's technology is based on targeting the bioactive lipids that contribute to the spreading and growth of various modern day diseases, inflammatory and auto-immune disorders and has potential applications in multiple billion-dollar market.
Lpath is also the first to successfully bring this technology as far as it has, and with Pfizer (PFE) already on board to share the costs of development, the risk is greatly reduced for the small, San Diego-based company.
The company has announced the initial dosing for two Phase II trials over the past month or so, making this one a stock to watch as the news heats up.
CPST: Capstone Turbine (CPST) reported another round of record revenue for the last quarter, and strong margins have the company on radars again. A trip to over two dollars earlier in the year was followed by a brief fall to under a buck, but growth on both the domestic and international fronts should keep Capstone and its green technology on investor radars, especially in light of the continued encouraging quarterlies.
CTSO: The slow slide of Cytosorbents' (CTSO) has some investors worried, but there has been no change in the potential of this company as it commercialized its lead product CytoSorb in Europe and looks to partner or sell its new blood purification technology, HemoDefend.
The potential of this stock to move on a dime was demonstrated earlier this year after the CE Mark Approval in Europe was announced, but it's now time to allow the company to move forward with its commercialization game plan, which includes a roll-out in Germany first.
Many investors look for an FDA approval as the key for a company such as this one, but by the time the FDA approves - if it does - much more data on CytoSorb will have been compiled and it's likely that the current share prices will be a memory of the past.
Cytosorbent's technology also has potential government and military applications that have yet to be tapped.
SPPI: Shares of Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI) continued their high-flying ways by closing up another five percent on Friday at over the twelve dollar mark.
Spectrum has been playing in primetime for months and has yet another catalyst pending for later this month when the FDA will announce whether or not it will pull the bioscan requirement for Zevalin treatment.
Watch this one. Could be moving like Jazz (JAZZ) did before that one became a superstar success story.
Enjoy the week.
Disclosure: I am long DNDN, AMPE, CELH.PK, CTSO, TTNP.OB, CCLR.OB.