Newlink Genetics failed in its last attempt at a pancreatic cancer drug but they promised to look harder in other areas. Shares have resisted the ASCO rebound and could fall to a new low if there was nothing new to report at ASCO.
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NLNK - Newlink Genetics - Company Profile
NewLink Genetics Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company, focuses on discovering, developing, and commercializing immunotherapeutic products to enhance treatment options for patients with cancer. Its portfolio includes biologic product candidates based on its HyperAcute cellular immunotherapy technology, which is designed to stimulate the human immune system; and small-molecule product candidates that are focused on breaking the immune system's tolerance to cancer by inhibiting the indoleamine-2, 3-dioxygenase pathway and the tryptophan-2, 3-dioxygenase pathway.
The company's lead product candidate, algenpantucel-L, an investigational immunotherapy, was being studied in Phase III clinical trials for patients with pancreatic cancer. They announced on May 10th the drug did not meet the goals of the study and may have actually made the patient sicker in the process. The company said a late-stage clinical trial for its algenpantucel-L treatment did not statistically improve survival rates in patients with resected pancreatic cancer. "In light of these negative results, our scientific and clinical teams will focus on other promising opportunities in our pipeline," said CEO Charles Link. Patients treated with the drug lived an average of 27.3 months compared to 30.4 months on existing treatment programs.
Shares collapsed from $17 to $9 and that was already down from $60 late in 2015. The problem is that Newlink had invested a lot of time and effort in that drug and it had already progressed into stage III trials. That cost them a lot of momentum and investors lost interest. Analysts now say that Newlink's cancer vaccine platform is now empty. They will have to rely more heavily on its IDO inhibitors, another form of cancer immunotherapy, which is only in early stage development. This field is very crowded and Newlink is fading to the back of the pack.
Earnings July 28th AM.
Shares of Newlink rose slowly from $10 to just under $13 on the ramp into ASCO. Investors were definitely not excited about the companies potential for a market moving presentation. Shares fell -8% on Friday as traders sold the ASCO news before the weekend. Nobody wanted to end up holding a company on Monday that was sinking on a negative headline. If some other company announces some new treatment than everyone else in the space will decline.
The conference runs until Tuesday afternoon so I am putting an entry trigger on the position just to make sure it is going lower before we jump in.
With a NLNK trade at $10.25
Short NLNK shares, currently $10.51. Initial stop loss $12.65.
No options recommended because of wide spreads.