Speaking of busted biotechs - a subscriber to my paid service asked me to look at YM Biosciences (YMI), a Canadian cancer company trading for its cash, down from $6 to a buck and change. Is this a buy signal?
Reflexively, many traders and speculators - as opposed to investors - are attracted to busted biotechs with lots of cash (at their current burn rate, YMI can last four years without new money), who need just one catalyst - an approval, new trial data something - to make the stock double.
If you go to their web site, they and their partners have more trials underway than a tort attorney in Mississippi, but a couple of big ones, if successful, could move the stock. Watch these developments:
• A Phase II, 50 patient trial for their own drug, nimotuzumab, in combination with irinotecan for the treatment of colorectal cancer. This drug is a humanized monoclonal antibody and their claim is equal or slightly better efficacy but much better side effects. Data could be available in Q2 2008, maybe. Nimotuzumab has been designated an Orphan Drug by the US FDA and by the EMEA for a form of cancer called glioma.
• The FDA is reviewing an application and has asked for more data for AeroLEF, a pain medication for cancer patients that is inhaled and enables patients to treat themselves.
• The company has trials underway for nimotuzumab for adult and pediatric glioma.
The pediatric trial in Europe will only suffice for a potential European drug application and the company has just begun a trial for pediatric brain cancer in the US.
Why am I writing about this company, which looks good on paper, doesn't it? Well, there is no proof their approach works; they have second and third tier partners and no meaningful US partner; they have a very scattered development approach and if nimotuzumab does not work, they are, in my opinion, out of luck. That is why the stock is trading for a buck.
But a biotech with lots of trials, three-four years cash, lots of potential catalysts in 2008 and an enterprise value of zero may be worth a look to some of you, especially the traders and speculators. I typically invest and recommend in more solid speculative bets if there is such a thing. I do not own or recommend YMI - but it is now on my radar.