YM BioSciences (NYSEAMEX: YMI), Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ: INCY), Infinity Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INFI), Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG) and NeoGenomics (NASDAQ: NEO) are five biotech stocks with two things in common: They have a focus on cancer and they have been or will be getting attention this week. And it may not be too late for investors or traders to get in on some of the action.
Beginning with small cap YM BioSciences (NYSEAMEX: YMI), its a life sciences product development company advancing a diverse portfolio of promising hematology and cancer-related products at various stages of development. YM BioSciences surged almost 77% yesterday when it was announced that Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD) would pay $510 million in cash, or $2.95 a share for it – an 80% premium. And while YM BioSciences might be loosing money, it had $125 million in cash at the end of September. More importantly, acquiring YM BioSciences means Gilead Sciences will get CYT387, a so-called JAK inhibitor that could treat cancer or inflammatory diseases. Gilead will advance the drug as a treatment for the blood cancer myelofibrosis with late-stage human trials in the second half of next year.
Unfortunately, that could be bad news for Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ: INCY) which beat YM BioSciences to market by getting approval to sell Jakafi for myelofibrosis last year. However, some medical experts believe that the YM BioSciences’ CYT387 is superior to Incyte Corporation’s Jakafi which has Anemia as a possible side effects – sending the latter's shares down just over 6%. Nevertheless, Incyte Corporation’s shares are still up 11.6% since the start of the year and up 82.1% over the past five years.
Meanwhile and earlier in the week, small cap Infinity Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INFI) jumped from the $23 level to the $26 level, its highest price in about a decade, after reporting positive results from an early clinical trial of its drug IPI-145 as a treatment for blood cancers. However and before you get too excited about Infinity Pharmaceuticals, the study is not yet over with as it involved 55 patients and the company will now test for increasing the dosage of the drug. Infinity Pharmaceuticals also has no approved drugs (two products are in clinical testing) and has just announced a proposed offering to fund further R&D, working capital and other purposes. Infinity Pharmaceuticals is up 197.8% since the start of the year and up 164.6% over the past five years.
Large cap Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG) is a global biopharmaceutical that’s been getting attention for some time now because of its drug pipeline and multiple areas for potential growth. Celgene Corporation has announced results for pomalidomide, a follow-up treatment for the blood cancer multiple myeloma that’s also a derivative of the once-banned drug thalidomide. Stifel Nicolaus expects that Celgene Corporation’s pomalidomide will be approved by the FDA in February and generate $594 million in sales in 2015. In addition, Celgene Corporation’s drug Abraxane has been getting attention lately as a potential drug to treat deadly pancreatic cancer. Otherwise, Celgene Corporation is up 20.1% since the start of the year and up 41.5% over the past five years.
Finally, small cap NeoGenomics (NASDAQ: NEO) is a high-complexity CLIA certified clinical laboratory that specializes in cancer genetics testing - the fastest growing segment of the laboratory industry. NeoGenomics will be on the radar of Wall Street and Main Street investors because Douglas VanOort, its Chairman & CEO, will ring the Closing Bell later today. That may sound like just another PR stunt, but if you are a regular watcher of CNBC, it might at least encourage you to google NeoGenomics to find out just what the heck they are. Moreover and as a laboratory focused on cancer testing rather than a biotech coming up with a new cancer drug, NeoGenomics does not come with the risk of an FDA rejection for a drug. More importantly for investors, NeoGenomics is up 114.3% since the start of the year and up 145.9% over the past five years.
The Bottom Line. Obviously its too late for investors to get into YM BioSciences and we can’t automatically assume that the former’s drug is superior to that of Incyte Corporation plus it might be to early to get excited about Infinity Pharmaceuticals (despite the stock performance). However, both Celgene Corporation and NeoGenomics are definitely worth watching and might be worth making a move on right now.