Shares of Oncothyreon (ONTY) started slipping earlier this month after it became apparent that results from an going Phase III trial testing the company's immunotherapeutic treatment for non-small cell lung cancer, Stimuvax, would not be released until early 2013.
Previous expectations had those results coming at some point this year, while some investors expected the ongoing trial would have even been halted after independent review, if results looked encouraging enough to move forward with approval based on the data compiled so far.
Since those results never led to an early halt, many took that to mean that the data is not compelling enough to justify approval just yet, which also shed some doubt on the probabilities of the final outcome.
Oncothyreon's CEO Robert Kirkman attempted to soothe the shattered souls of investors who may have expected too much too soon by reiterating the fact that investors hoping for an early trial completion held "unrealistic expectations." He also added that the continuation of the trial "should be viewed as a positive."
Already down after the first price slip this month, ONTY shares took another slide during the after hours on Wednesday due to an announcement of a proposed public offering of common stock.
The proceeds from the offering, as explained in a company press release, "will primarily be used to fund the development of PX-866, Oncothyreon's irreversible pan-isoform PI-3 kinase inhibitor, and ONT-10, Oncothyreon's proprietary follow-on vaccine to Stimuvax. Stimuvax, currently in a Phase 3 pivotal trial, is a vaccine for patients with non-small cell lung cancer and is partnered with Merck KGaA (OTCPK:MKGAY). The offering proceeds may also be used for general corporate purposes."
No amount was given for the offering, but those who may have missed the runup over the past year and wanted in before Stimuvax results may find the recent slide as an opportune time to jump in.
If Stimuvax results are positive, then shares should soar in similar fashion to how Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN) soared after positive Provenge results a few years back, but understand the risk involved with investing in cancer immunotherapy. It's usually a good idea to take some profits from the table if you happen to be around for one of the speculative price runs.
If the Stimuvax results fail to impress, then the recent slide will most likely only have looked like kid's play compared to the next dip.
There's plenty of time to place bets on Stimuvax now and it's likely that another speculative move could materialize later this year as we get closer to results again, similar to the action experienced by Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KERX) with trial results looming.
Keep this one on the radar, as there may be some quiet time on the news front with the extended time added to the expected release of results; but it's been the case when these speculative cancer plays move, they move quick.
Disclosure: No positions.