Why NewLink Genetics Corp. Shares Jumped

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 NewLink Genetics Corp. (NASDAQ: NLNK  ) , a clinical-stage developer of immunotherapy treatments to fight cancer utilizing its proprietary HyperAcute immunotherapy technology platform, advanced as much as 12% after presenting positive study data on its immunotherapy candidates at the European Cancer Congress.

So what: According to NewLink's press release, the company's HyperAcute immunotherapy candidates demonstrated "greater than expected responses to salvage chemotherapy following treatment with both algenpantucel-L in patients with pancreatic cancer and tergenpumatucel-L in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)." Specifically, NewLink notes that three pancreatic cancer patients exhibited durable complete responses of 12 to 36 months after having progressed on algenpantucel-L therapy. Of the 16 NSCLC patients, 25% achieved stable disease while 31% demonstrated a partial response.

Now what: This is definitely good news, but I feel that investors would be wise not to get too excited just yet. We're talking about extremely early-stage immunotherapy candidates and small pool studies. If these results translate into statistically significant improvement in a much larger trial, then I feel we need to consider NewLink as a viable investment option. For the time being, it's watchlist worthy, but I'd probably suggesting waiting on investing in the company until we have more tangible mid- or late-stage results.

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