As I've referred to in previous articles, this time of the year the spotlight turns to the June ASCO meetings in Chicago, IL. ASCO stands for the American Society of Clinical Oncology and is the premier event for oncology professionals including researchers, physicians, and pharmaceutical companies. Many Bio-Pharmas see nice run-ups into this conference, so I actually bought a few shares of the last company mentioned here for a catalyst trade. Also in this article are some other Bio-Pharma catalyst non-ASCO trades that should move nicely in my opinion.
Arena Pharma (ARNA) 5/7/12 pps: $2.72. Market cap: $496.40M
Catalyst trade factor: I have to mention Arena again as anticipation builds towards the ahead of The Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee meeting on May 10, 2012. I am leaning towards Lorcaserin receiving a favorable review this time around, albeit just barely. At the very least, If you decide to gamble and buy/hold Arena through all the catalysts and the drug receives a favorable review from the EMDAC committee, the stock might see a price over $6 a share.
Repligen (RGEN) 5/7/12 pps: $4.94. Market cap: $151.78M
Repligen engages in the manufacture and supply of biologic products used to manufacture biologic drugs.
Catalyst trade factor: PDUFA date June 21, 2012 for SecreFlo for the improved detection of pancreatic duct abnormalities in patients with pancreatitis. The Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee will meet on May 31, 2012 to discuss the New Drug Application (NDA).
SecreFlo is a synthetic human secretin, designed to improve visualization of pancreatic duct abnormalities when used in combination with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Detailed assessment of the pancreatic ducts is important in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as acute and chronic pancreatitis.
Allos Therapeutics (ALTH) 5/7/12 pps: $1.81. Market cap: $193.59M
ASCO Catalyst trade factor: Phase 2 Data due June 3rd on Pralatrexate for the treatment of Advanced/metastatic relapsed transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder.
Bladder cancer is the ninth most common type of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 68,810 new cases of bladder cancer were expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2008. Transitional cell carcinoma, or TCC, is the most common form of bladder cancer, accounting for more than 90% of all bladder cancers. There are no approved agents for the treatment of advanced or metastatic relapsed TCC of the urinary bladder.
Ariad Pharma (ARIA) 5/7/12 pps: $16.09. Market cap: $2.56B
ASCO Catalyst trade factor: Phase 2 pivotal data on Ponatinib CML and Ph+ALL resistant or intolerant to dasatinib or nilotinib.
The primary target for ponatinib is BCR-ABL, an abnormal tyrosine kinase that is the hallmark of CML and Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Ponatinib was designed using ARIAD's computational and structure-based drug design platform to inhibit the enzymatic activity of BCR-ABL with very high potency and broad specificity. Ponatinib was intended to target not only native BCR-ABL, but also its isoforms that carry mutations that confer resistance to treatment with existing tyrosine kinase inhibitors, including especially the T315I mutation for which no effective therapy exists.
A favorable pivotal Ponatinib data could have a large effect on the Ariad stock price. Ariad has certainly been quite a story over the last 2-3 years, but can the run continue? Stay tuned.
My ASCO Catalyst pick and trade:
Sunesis Pharma (SNSS) 5/7/12 pps: $2.58, Market cap: $120.80M
Sunesis is expected to present Phase 3 data on Vosaroxin at ASCO on June 4th, 2012.
Vosaroxin is designed for the treatment of Acute myeloid leukemia AML. To combine with presenting at ASCO, Sunesis just announced on May 3rd that the European Commission has granted orphan drug designation to Vosaroxin. According to the CEO Daniel Swisher, there have been no new drugs to treat this disease in 30 years. If data for Vosaroxin holds up going through Phase III trials, the standard of care for patients who relapse from this form of Leukemia will change drastically.
With no competing drugs, the company estimates potential Vosaroxin sales, if approved, could range from $400-$600 million annually. I see Sunesis making a move to near $3 a share soon. Look for my feature article on Sunesis to be released today or tomorrow on SA and other sites. The revelation of phase 3 data points tend to move small cap bio pharma stocks higher than let's say, the revelation of phase 2 data points. This is why I am playing this one; notwithstanding, I think this stock has a great shot at being a multi bagger in the next 1 to 3 years, and Sunesis reminds me of Ariad a bit when Ariad was trading near the current Sunesis stock.
Disclosure: I am long SNSS.