Why ZIOPHARM Oncology Shares Imploded

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of ZIOPHARM Oncology (NASDAQ: ZIOP  ) , a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing cancer-based therapies, were eviscerated today, falling as much as 66% after announcing a discontinuation to its late-stage metastatic soft tissue sarcoma trial with experimental drug, Palifosfamide.

So what: ZIOPHARM, in a press release this morning, noted that Palifosfamide failed to meet its primary endpoint of progression-free survival. Clearly, upon closer examination, Palifosfamide didn't fit the bill. The independent data monitoring committee suggested that ZIOPHARM follow up with patients to determine if Palifosfamide will improve overall survival and meet its secondary endpoint, but the company stomped out that possibility this morning by noting it's not planning any follow-ups. Instead, management plans to focus the company's efforts on its synthetic biology programs.

Now what: Yikes -- that's both a scientific and emotional observation! ZIOPHARM is in a world of hurt after this decision because it burned a considerable amount of its cash on developing Palifosfamide. ZIOPHARM had just $73.3 million in cash left as of its most recently filed quarter and, without the aid of secondary share offerings or job cuts, could run out of cash well before the end of 2014 by my estimates. Its synthetic biology program could eventually help its bottom line, but compared to late-stage Palifosfamide, it's all predominantly early and-mid-stage compounds. ZIOPHARM might seem like a bargain after today because of its cash value, but I'm not biting.

Craving more input? Start by adding ZIOPHARM Oncology to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

While you can certainly make huge gains in biotechs like ZIOPHARM, the best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. The Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich" names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article referred to meeting the necessary number of progression-free survival events that led to the data readout. This sentence has been removed for clarity.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

DocumentId: 2332430, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 7/23/2014 5:51:58 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement