Agenus, Inc. (NASDAQ:AGEN) spiked another 10% during intra-day trading on Wednesday, continuing a run that was ignited by the expanding of an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) earlier this month that had the buyout rumors swirling.
In the agreement, geared around Agenus' vaccine adjuvant QS-21 Stimulon, Glaxo was granted a 'first right of refusal' for any buyout offers Agenus may receive in relation to the company as a whole or any of its pipeline products.
The protracted movement in share price has put this company on the map again.
Aside from a brief period last year when AGEN was brought into news circles regarding the success of GSK's late stage malaria vaccine - in which Stimulon is used and AGEN will receive modest royalties - this company has been relatively dormant since the European medical regulators denied approval of the experimental cancer immunotherapy treatment Prophage (formerly Oncophage) for the treatment of kidney cancer.
Oncophage had been approved in Russia for that indication, but nothing ever commercially materialized after the approval.
Prophage is currently being tested in a Phase II trial for the possible treatment of glioma, and the early signs of success have been encouraging.
Agenus is still a long way from recognizing any significant revenue, barring any partnership money coming in, but the expansion of the GSK deal is credible enough to have sparked the most recent price run.
It's always a good idea, in my opinion, to entertain the option of flipping a few trading shares into runs such as this one - especially in the highly volatile biotech sector - given the nature of the beast that has the higher prices disappear as quickly as they materialized (see: Oncothyreon (ONTY) as one example), but regardless of how long the price increase lasts, Agenus is back on the map.
AGEN made the Nasdaq's top gainers list on Wednesday.
Disclosure: Long AGEN.