Nearly forty biotechnology companies have gone public in 2018 and raised nearly $4 billion, according to information released by Bloomberg. That’s the highest amount the biotech sector has raised on the public markets since 2000 when the science was in its beginning phases.
Within the growing world of cancer research, immuno-oncology appears to be creating the most excitement. Companies working in this area are targeting new ways to stimulate the immune system to recognize and kill cancer—and they’re finding plenty of investors willing to pour capital into the effort to get these therapies to market.
Gritstone Oncology (GRTS) and Sutro Biopharma (STRO) are the newest immuno-oncology companies to announce terms for their initial public offerings. Gritstone said that it expects to raise up to $91 million to increase its pipeline of immune-boosting drugs that are specific to individual patients based on their tumors’ unique markers. And Sutro hopes to bring in as much as $80 million to create a range of immuno-oncology therapies, including some that it’s working on with biopharma leaders like Merck and Celgene.
There are a few trends pushing the excitement for immuno-oncology on Wall Street. For one, the past couple of years have brought in a range of new immune-boosting treatments that have boosted the prognoses in many cancer types. There are the “checkpoint inhibitors,” which are drugs that inhibit specific immune-suppressing proteins, for example. Drugs in this class include Merck’s Keytruda and Bristol Myers-Squibb’s Opdivo, both of which are now billion-dollar-plus blockbusters used to treat melanoma, lung cancer, kidney cancer, and other tumor types.
The Food & Drug Administration approved two personalized therapies created from individual patients’ immune cells: The CAR-T therapies Kymriah, from Novartis, and Yescarta, promoted by Gilead. They’re now being used to treat some patients with blood cancers that aren’t affected by traditional therapies.
Forty-Seven raised $112 million in a June IPO, which took place not long after it announced strong data from a trial of its drug that blocks CD47, a protein that allows cancer cells to avoid immune attacks. Neon Therapeutics also went public in June and was able to take in $100 million to grew its personalized T-cell therapies to treat solid tumors.
Sutro, based in South San Francisco, raised more than $175 million in private capital before filing to go public, netting $85.4 million of that recently in a series E. Its investors include Alta Partners, Skyline Ventures, Celgene, Merck, and Eli Lilly. Sutro’s two lead product candidates are antibody-based drugs to treat lymphoma, multiple myeloma, ovarian and endometrial cancer, but its scientists are focused on using new technology to overcome some of the limitations of currently marketed immuno-oncology treatments.
“While many single-agent immunotherapies have resulted in remarkable clinical results, only a minority of patients have realized durable benefits from these treatments,” the company wrote in its registration statement. Sutro had developed a protein engineering technology, dubbed XpressCF+, that its scientists are using to discover immuno-oncology drug candidates with the potential to be more potent and effective for broader patient populations, according to the registration statement.
When Emeryville, CA-based Gritstone first announced its IPO plans in August, it simultaneously revealed a development partnership with Bluebird Bio that includes $20 million up front, a $10 million investment and the potential for milestone payments. Gritstone is also collaborating with Bristol Myers-Squibb.
Gritstone’s technology revolves around synthesizing tumor-specific neoantigens (TSNAs) that are personalized to individual patients. The TSNAs are designed to activate tumor-specific T cells to launch an immune attack. The company expects to launch human trials of its first personalized immunotherapy by the end of this year, according to the registration statement. The trial will enroll patients with solid tumors such as bladder and colorectal cancer and it will test Gritstone’s treatment candidate in combination with checkpoint inhibitors provided by BMS.
Gritstone raised more than $200 million before it filed for its IPO, from the likes of Alexandria Ventures, Redmile Group and Trinitas Capital.
But like most early-stage biotech companies, Sutro and Gritstone have years of work ahead of them before they can confirm success for their immuno-oncology therapies. With clinical trials just beginning at both companies, it could be years before they have any idea of how likely the FDA and other regulatory bodies will be to accept their immune-boosting cancer therapies.
2 Biotech Stocks Turning Heads After Key Developments This Quarter
There are very few sectors in the stock market that have consistently produced winning trades. You might be able to count such sectors on one hand. Biotech is certainly among those sectors due to the emergence of highly innovative companies. These firms tend to create new avenues of creation to address unmet medical needs.
There are plenty of promising companies in the sector but it is necessary for an investor to do research thoroughly. It makes finding the best biotech stocks a bit easier. Though no one’s guaranteed a win, sifting out bad stocks is the key. One must watch the market closely to come across promising biotech stocks. Here is a look at two biotech stocks that are worth watching.
Biotech Stocks To Watch: Moleculin Biotech (MBRX)
The first biotech stock to consider is that of Moleculin Biotech Inc (NASDAQ:MBRX), which made some gains on Wednesday on the back of positive interim results for one of its products. The company, which is involved in manufacturing medicines meant for extremely resistant tumors, released data with regards to its acute myeloid leukaemia medicine annamycin.
Moleculin revealed highly positive interim data from the Phase ½ clinical study of the medicine and naturally, it has resulted in a lot of excitement in the market with regards to the stock. The stock rose by as much as 2% on the back of the news in yesterday’s trading session. It is one of the key biotech stocks to keep an eye on over the coming days.
Biotech Stocks To Watch: Eyepoint Pharmaceuticals (EYPT)
The other biotech stock that has recorded impressive gains on the market today is the Eyepoint Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:EYPT) stock. On Wednesday, the company announced an important deal with regard to dexamethasone intraocular suspension 9% (DEXYCU). Eyepoint announced that it has managed to reach an agreement with one of the biggest players in the U.S. integrated delivery systems.
[Read More] 3 Pharma Stocks To Watch In December 2019
The deal is for two years and the other party is going to offer DEXYCU in its aforesaid systems. It is a major boost for Eyepoint and it has resulted in 5% to close at $1.54 in Wednesday’s trading session.
2 Biotech Stocks to Watch As The Sector Hits New High
The biotech sector has thrown plenty of winners over the course of the last decade or so and if experts are to be believed then it is going to continued to do so for the foreseeable future. Great advancements are being made in the biotech industry and many companies are working on a highly advanced product.
In such a situation, it is imperative for an intelligent investor to look for companies worth investing in. One should watch the latest developments in the sector and track specific companies closely. Here is a look at two biotech stocks that are worth watching.
The first biotech stock to watch is that of Neoleukin Therapeutics Inc (NLTX), which has managed to gain significantly over the past two weeks. On November 13, the company released its third-quarter results and since then it has rocketed by as much as 75%. The Canadian company made a loss of $59.1 million in the quarter, which worked out to $2.26 per share.
The company is a biopharmaceutical company that is involved in immunotherapies using de novo protein design technology. The company’s lead product candidate is NL-201, which is an amalgamation of both IL-2 and IL-15 and helps in removing alpha receptor binding.
The other biotech stock that is worth watching is Verastem Inc (NASDAQ:VSTM). It made significant gains over the past week. On Monday, the company announced that it has submitted a Marketing Authorization Application for its product COPIKTRA to the European Medicines Agency.
COPIKTRA is a phosphoinositide 3-kinase. It’s meant for patients suffering from refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL) and relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma (FL).
The company is seeking approval for the same in the European market. Verastem stated that it has seen significant improvement in patients who used the product. The stock rocketed by as much as 60% after the news broke and remains one of the stocks to watch this week.
2 Biotech Stocks To Watch Gaining Momentum Right Now
Biotech is a sector that has grown significantly over the past decade or so and continues to hold a lot of promise if market experts are be believed. Hence, it is no surprise that investors are almost always on the lookout for the next winners from among the hundreds of penny stocks in the market.
However, if one has to identify a promising stock, then he has to watch the market closely and do his own research quite thoroughly. Here is a look at two biotech stocks that should be watched closely by all investors.
Oramed Pharmaceuticals Hits New Highs
The first biotech stock that should be put into the watch list is that of Oramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ORMP). The company, which is engaged in developing oral drug delivery systems, announced highly positive results from the Phase 2b trial of its product ORMD-0801.
The product in question is an oral insulin treatment and if it is eventually approved then it would become the very first orally administered insulin product. Hence, the optimism around the product and the Oramed stock is perfectly understandable.
Over the course of the past two weeks, the stock has gained by as much as 135%. Moreover, the stock made a new 52-week high of $5.80 in Monday’s trading session.
Clearside Biomedical Jumps 70% in 2-Week
The other biotech stock that has enjoyed an impressive rally in recent times is that of Clearside Biomedical Inc (NASDAQ:CLSD). The company developed a specially designed suprachoroidal space (SCS) microinjection platform. It helps administer medicines to the eyes. One of the most important medicines in its pipeline, Xipere, treats macular edema. The disease can seriously affect a person’s eyesight.
Earlier this year, the company announced that it had decided to postpone Xipere due to issues with its contractors. However, a complete response letter from the FDA in October revealed that the regulatory body needed more information about the medicine. The information demanded did not include anything that was related to the effectiveness of the medicine. The stock has gained 70% over the past two weeks.
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