3 Hot Biotech Stocks That Cost Less than a Cup of Coffee

Published: Aug 21, 2017

3 Hot Biotech Stocks That Cost Less than a Cup of Coffee
August 21, 2017
What’s the cost of a cup of coffee, these days? Probably varies depending on where you go, but there are some promising biotech stocks that are selling for about the same price, under $5. Just because a stock sells low doesn’t mean it’s worth it, but Cory Renauer, writing for The Motley Fool, looks at three cheap stocks that have top potential.

1. Geron Corporation

Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Geron is developing a telomerase inhibitor, imtelstat, in hematologic myeloid malignancies. It is currently running two clinical trials with Janssen Biotech, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). IMbark is a Phase II trial of imetelstat in myelofibrosis (MF) and IMerge is a Phase II/III trial of imtelstat in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

is currently trading for $1.99. As a result, the company’s current market cap is about $328 million.

Renauer writes, “We won’t have to wait too much longer to get a better handle on Geron’s future. By the end of next September, Johnson & Johnson will make a decision about whether or not to continue developing imetelstat based on results from the recently modified study. If this little biotech’s partner gives the thumbs up, you probably won’t be able to buy its shares for less than $5 anymore.”

2. Rigel Pharmaceuticals

Based in South San Francisco, Rigel is focused on small molecule drugs for immune and hematological disorders, cancer and rare diseases. Its fostamatinib (Tavalise) is in clinical trials for several different indications, and has submitted a New Drug Application (INDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the drug in patients with chronic or persistent ITP. It is in a Phase II trial for autoimmune hemolytic anemia and IgA nephropathy. It also has product candidates in development with partners BerGenBio AS, Daiichi Sankyo, and Aclaris Therapeutics.

Renauer notes that in its two clinical trials to improve patient platelet levels, one patient in one of the trials in the placebo group showed improvement, which from a statistical point of view made it a failure. “Fortunately,” he writes, “combined results from both trials show 29 of 101 patients treated with the candidate responded, versus just one of 49 patients given a placebo. That’s a statistical slam dunk. If the FDA were truly perturbed by one responder in a placebo group, I doubt it would have accepted the application. The Agency is expected to deliver a decision by mid-April next year. If you can still buy shares of Rigel for less than $5 after that, I’ll be downright surprised.”

is currently trading for $2.22.

3. Agenus

Located in Lexington, Mass., Agenus is focused on immuno-oncology (IO), with a broad portfolio of antibodies including checkpoint inhibitors and other checkpoint modulators, neo-antigen vaccines and adjuvants. Most recently, on June 21, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)’s shingles vaccine candidate, Shingrix, which contains Agenus’ immune adjuvant, QS-21 Stimulon, had positive Phase III trial results LINK http://investor.agenusbio.com/2017-06-21-Positive-Phase-3-for-GSKs-shingles-vaccine-Shingrix-with-Agenus-QS-21-Stimulon-R-immune-adjuvant in elderly patients previously treated with the current vaccine, Zostavax.

The company’s market cap is around $356 million. Apparently, the reason for the relatively low stock value is simply competition—there are a lot of checkpoint inhibitors in the IO space. But the company has a fairly deep and varied pipeline. Incyte (INCY) is helping to fund development of two of Agenus’ candidates and if successful, Agenus will be eligible for milestone payments and 15 percent royalties.

Renauer writes, “Shingrix royalties probably won’t be enough to carry the company all the way to profitability, but they would give Agenus and its partners more time to develop the experimental cancer drugs emerging pipeline. That chance to take plenty of shots on goal makes this a top biotech stock that could be worth a lot more than $5 in the years ahead.”

is currently trading for $3.64.

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