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Why Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. Shares Jumped

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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 Infinity Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INFI  ) , a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies for unmet diseases, jumped as much as 19% after reporting its fourth-quarter earnings results before the opening bell.

So what: Being that Infinity is wholly clinical stage, it did not record any revenue for the fourth quarter. Its net loss, however, shrank considerably, to $32.9 million, or $0.68 per share, from $47 million, or $1.15 per share, in the year-ago quarter. This was primarily accomplished by a $13.4 million reduction in research and development expenses. By comparison, Wall Street had anticipated a much wider loss of $0.86 per share. Infinity also announced a number of expected 2014 development milestones, including initiating three clinical studies of IPI-145 in hematologic malignancies, and reporting topline data from two mid-stage studies.

Now what: Anytime a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company can reduce its R&D expenses by $13.4 million from the year-ago quarter without compromising the development of its lead drug is a good thing. While IPI-145 has shown promise, Infinity has also shown no sign that its losses and cash burn will abate anytime soon, either. In fiscal 2013, Infinity burned through $112.1 million in cash, and it's quite feasible that figure could be around $100 million, in my estimation, for fiscal 2014. The potential for dilution in order to raise cash for clinical studies has to always be at the back of your mind with clinical-stage biopharma companies like Infinity. For now, I consider myself nothing more than a casual observer of this company.

Infinity shares may be soaring today, but they'll likely be hard-pressed to keep up with this top stock in 2014
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Sean Williams

A Fool since 2010, and a graduate from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Economics, Sean specializes in the healthcare sector and in investment planning topics. You'll usually find him writing about Obamacare, marijuana, developing drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices, Social Security, taxes, or any number of other macroeconomic issues.

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