Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Keep a Close Watch on Geron, Keryx, and Sangamo Today

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

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.

Good morning, fellow Fools! It's time to look at the movers and shakers in health care today.

Geron touts early stage cancer drug
Geron (NASDAQ: GERN  ) jumped 12% in after-hours trading yesterday after further details were released pertaining to the company's early stage trial for imetelstat as a treatment for myelofibrosis, a type of bone marrow cancer. Data from the study are set to be presented at the American Society for Hematology meeting on Monday. Consequently, the full results are under a media embargo until they are formally presented at the meeting.

According to the teaser released yesterday, patients taking imetelstat showed dramatic improvements at both the anatomical and molecular levels. But what really got investors' blood boiling was the handful of complete responses observed in the study, which is a first for this type of cancer.

What's my take? If you've followed Geron over the past few years, you probably recall hearing similar machinations when imetelstat was first being investigated as a treatment for breast cancer. As a refresher, Geron halted imetelstat's development at the mid-trial stage for breast cancer after an interim analysis showed that the drug performed worse than the currently recommended treatment. In short, you might want to take a wait-and-see approach with Geron. There will be plenty of upside remaining if imetelstat shows favorable results in a mid-stage trial after all.

Keryx in rebound mode
Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: KERX  ) is rebounding nicely in pre-market this morning after dropping more than 11% yesterday. As a refresher, Keryx's drop was initiated by a mere rumor that the company's flagship drug candidate Zerenex would not receive the vaunted New Chemical Entity, or NCE, status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Earlier this year, Keryx submitted a New Drug Application, or NDA, for Zerenex to the FDA as a treatment for elevated serum phosphate levels in patients with chronic kidney disease on dialysis.

Why is NCE status important? Simply put, NCE status confers an additional five years of market exclusivity to new drugs against generic competition. So it is a big deal.

What's my take? I usually don't put much stock in biotech rumor mills and suggest you don't either. I have no clue how the FDA is going to view the novelty of Zerenex's active ingredient ferric citrate, and predicting what the FDA is going to do on any given issue is often a Fool's game. The bigger issue, to my mind, is that Keryx shares aren't exactly cheap after their spectacular rise this year. With regulatory and commercialization risks still very much on the table, I think it's wise to tread lightly with Keryx for the time being.

Sangamo reports HIV trial data
Sangamo Biosciences (NASDAQ: SGMO  ) is up in pre-market this morning after announcing positive proof of concept results for its HIV therapy SB-728-T. The early stage data showed that Sangamo's therapy met threshold levels of engraftment on CD4 cells, which should provide a barrier to HIV entry into the immune system.

For those new to this story, Sangamo's gene modifying approach to the treatment of HIV basically attempts to mimic a naturally occurring mutation called CCR5delta32 that aids in blocking the virus from entering the immune system. In an interesting twist to the tale, this is the same mutation that helped some Europeans survive the black plague.

While an effective therapy for HIV would undoubtedly be a game-changer for a developmental biotech like Sangamo, you should proceed with caution with this one. Sangamo already has a market cap exceeding $700 million, which is on the high side for a biotech at this stage in its lifecycle. That said, I am a big fan of Sangamo's novel approaches to treating challenging diseases such as HIV and Huntington's disease. So Foolish investors should definitely keep tabs on Sangamo as it continues make progress on the clinical front.

Another growth stock to take a close look at
This incredible tech stock is growing twice as fast as Google and Facebook, and more than three times as fast as and Apple. Watch our jaw-dropping investor alert video today to find out why The Motley Fool's chief technology officer is putting $117,238 of his own money on the table, and why he's so confident this will be a huge winner in 2013 and beyond. Just click here to watch!

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.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2754863, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/1/2016 8:36:19 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...

Today's Market

updated 11 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,308.15 164.70 0.91%
S&P 500 2,168.27 17.14 0.80%
NASD 5,312.00 42.85 0.81%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/30/2016 4:00 PM
GERN $2.26 Up +0.06 +2.73%
Geron CAPS Rating: ***
KERX $5.31 Up +0.16 +3.11%
Keryx Biopharmaceu… CAPS Rating: **
SGMO $4.63 Up +0.06 +1.31%
Sangamo Bioscience… CAPS Rating: ****