by Pharmboy - February 13th, 2011 11:08 pm
Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.
Cancer is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth. Some cancers invade or intrude upon adjacent tissues, then destroy that tissue/organ, and then spread (metastasize) to other locations in the body via lymph or blood. These three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which do not invade or metastasize. All of these diseases suggest that there will be a need for personalized therapy, as even within a specific type of cancer, there is wide heterogeneity in clinicopathological features. For instance, leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, etc are all lymphoproliferative disorders (where lymphocytes are produced in excess) affect one or more different biological pathways that play a role in lymphomagenesis (the development of B cells and T cells). Over the past year, on focal point of our investment virtual portfolio has been smaller companies researching and developing treatments for cancer (CRIS, ARIA, ARRY, SPPI, IMGN). The next small company with some very interesting prospects in the pipeline is Immunomedics.
Figure 1. Cancer Prevalence.
In our recent past, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) were discussed in the context of a mid-tiered pharma, BIIB and smaller biotech, Immunogen (IMGN). These companies will not be rehashed, but to re-emphasize that mAb and biologics are one of the hottest areas in in biotech. Small molecules have are not the favorites for now (especially in cancer), and that is most likely due to early stage trials, lack of efficacy, or more likely – patent protection, as biologics/mAbs are harder to show equivolance….and thus have the potential to generate cash for years to come.
(IMMU) based in New Jersey, is primarily focused on the development of mAb-based products for the targeted treatment of cancer, autoimmune and other diseases. The company has a number of advanced mAbs that can be used either alone in unlabeled or “naked” form, or conjugated with radioactive isotopes, chemotherapeutics or toxins, in each case to create highly targeted agents (think Inmunogen, but different 'targets'). The company has built a pipeline of therapeutic product candidates that utilize several different mechanisms of action discussed below. The company also owns a stake in IBC Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which is developing a novel Dock-and-Lock (DNL) methodology. …
by Option Review - August 27th, 2009 6:07 pm
Today’s tickers: AIG, IMMU, XHB & NCS
AIG - Investors displayed what can only be described as options-mania today as more than 411,000 contracts (and rising) were traded on the stock by lunchtime. Shares have exploded upwards by more than 28% to stand at the current price of $48.46. Option implied volatility, or the measure of investor uncertainty, jumped up from 114% at the opening bell to the current reading of 150%. Near-term uber-bulls were observed purchasing more than 7,500 calls as high as the September 70 strike price for an average premium of 1.20 apiece. The call premium at that strike – the highest strike price listed for the stock – has nearly doubled during the trading session. Early-bird rewards were apparent as traders who acted first thing this morning (around 10:30 am EDT) were able to purchase the same calls for just 36 cents each. Another trade of note was a bullish reversal established in the November contract. An investor shed 7,500 puts at the November 27 strike price for a premium of 2.50 apiece in order to partially finance the purchase of 7,500 calls at the higher November 55 strike for 4.10 each. The net cost of purchasing the calls was reduced to 1.60. Thus, this individual will begin to realize profits if AIG continues higher by 17% to breach the breakeven point at $56.60 by expiration in November. – American International Group, Inc. –
IMMU - The biopharmaceutical company’s shares have surged 60% higher to reach a new 52-week high of $6.82. Bullish movement in the stock was fueled by news regarding the firm’s experimental epratuzumab drug. Apparently, the drug showed a clinically “meaningful treatment effect” as compared with the placebo in patients with lupus. Option traders responded by positioning for continued upward momentum in IMMU. Call options were coveted at the near-term September 7.5 strike price more than 5,600 times for an average premium of 43 cents per contract. Investors holding the calls are hoping to see the stock rise 16% higher to surpass the breakeven point at $7.93 by expiration next month. Additional bullish action was observed at the November 5.0 strike price where traders shed 2,900 puts for 46 cents a-pop. Perhaps these individuals doubt that shares will slip beneath $5.00 by November’s expiration day. Thus, they are happy to receive the 46 cents premium in exchange for bearing the risk that shares of the…
by Option Review - July 28th, 2009 4:20 pm
Today’s tickers: MRK, IMMU, AET, ODP, FSLR, EEM, MFA & XLI
MRK – The pharmaceutical company declared a quarterly dividend of 38 cents per share for the fourth quarter of 2009 today, amid a 3% decline in shares to arrive at the current price of $29.81. A bearish put spread established in the October contract suggests some investors are wary of further declines for the company. The spread involved the purchase of 7,400 puts at the October 31 strike price for 2.23 apiece against the sale of 7,400 puts at the lower October 29 strike for a premium of 1.28 each. The net cost of the transaction amounts to 95 cents, yielding the investor maximum potential profits of 1.05 if the stock slips to $29.00 by expiration. The current market price of MRK is currently lower than the breakeven point on the trade of $30.05. Thus, the investor responsible for the spread has already earned 24 cents by assuming a bearish stance on the stock. – Merck & Company, Inc.
IMMU – Shares of the biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of products designed to treat cancer, autoimmune, and other serious diseases, have surged more than 14% to $5.24 during the trading session. Bullish movement in the stock was fueled by the news that IMMU has entered into a partnership and cross-licensing agreement with Alexis Biotech Ltd., of London, England. The firms are combining efforts in order to develop “targeted vaccines against cancers” such as melanoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, as well as infectious diseases such as AIDS. Option traders hoping for continued upward movement in the price of the underlying were seen getting long of bullish call options in the September contract. The September 7.5 strike price had approximately 3,500 calls coveted for 38 cents apiece. Investors holding the calls will begin to realize profits in the event that shares climb another 50% to surpass the breakeven point at $7.88 by expiration. – Immunomedics, Inc.
AET – The third-largest health insurer in the United States has enjoyed a rally in shares of more than 13% to $29.08 this afternoon after receiving an upgrade to ‘outperform’ from ‘neutral’ at Cowen and Company. Call options exchanged on the stock today exceeded the number of puts by a factor of more than 3-to-1, reflecting bullish sentiment by investors. The near-term August 30 strike price had more than 8,800 calls purchased for…