Top Stories in Biotech This Morning: Pluristem Therapeutics, Inc, Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sangamo Biosciences, Inc.

Today's top stories in healthcare and biotech.

Mar 6, 2014 at 8:48AM

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.

Let's take a look at the top stories in biotech and health care this morning -- keep an eye out for Pluristem Therapeutics (NASDAQ:PSTI), Rigel Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:RIGL), and Sangamo Biosciences (NASDAQ:SGMO)

Pluristem heading higher on FDA approval of placental-based cell products manufacturing facility 
Pluristem looks to be in for a good day after receiving approval to manufacture its PLacental eXpanded cell products in its new commercial-scale cell manufacturing facility from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. This is the second regulatory approval for the company's 3D cell manufacturing process, having received approval in Germany last January. Shares of Pluristem are up over 6% in premarket on this news. 

Is this a company worth keeping tabs on? Personally, I am not a big fan of investing in stem cell companies, and think the technology still has a long way to go before it's investment worthy. So, while this is a step in the right direction, I think there are safer, more compelling investments in the biotech sector than Pluristem.

Rigel up on preclinical data for R118
Little known biotech Rigel Pharmaceuticals rallied over 10% yesterday and is showing continued in strength in premarket following the publication of preclinical data for its experimental peripheral artery disease, or PAD, treatment called R118. The company also announced that R118 has now entered an early stage trial, where it will be tested for safety signals and signs of efficacy. R118 is an orally bioavailable AMPK activator hypothesized to improve exercise performance and peripheral vascular flow in patients afflicted with PAD. Investors are excited about the treatment's prospects because PAD is a potentially large market, and Rigel's market cap is small at $358 million compared to R118's projected commercial prospects. 

Time to jump in? I would have to say no at the current time. Remember, R118 is only now entering the actual clinical testing phase of its life cycle, and there are ample opportunities for failure along the way. Moreover, Rigel's current valuation appears to be tightly linked to R118's clinical prospects. So, you may want to take a wait-and-see approach with Rigel.  

Did Sangamo just revolutionize HIV treatment?
Shares of Sangamo Biosciences are shooting higher this morning by 21% after news hit the Street that the company's zinc finger nuclease-based genome editing technology achieved functional control over HIV infections in six patients. While the data are still preliminary, this approach has a naturally occurring analogue that suggests it may ultimately succeed, namely the so-called delta 32 mutation in the CCR5 gene. Essentially, this mutation keeps HIV from entering T-cells in the first place, where it replicates and subsequently infects the rest of the immune system. Sangamo's treatment, called SB-728-T, mimics this mutation by genetically engineering T-cells to make them resistant to HIV infection. This exciting work was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine

Should you jump on the bandwagon? Although this clinical result is promising--and even awe-inspiring in many ways, I can't honestly say that Sangamo represents a good investment at this stage. The company has a market cap topping $1 billion, and is essentially a developmental stage company. That said, you should keep tabs on Sangamo, especially as the company's interesting clinical pipeline progresses. 

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George Budwell has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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