Why Verastem Inc Shares Took Off Today

Is this meaningful? Or just another movement?

May 27, 2014 at 3:36PM

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 Verastem Inc (NASDAQ:VSTM) have leveled off at a 12% gain this afternoon after rising throughout the morning following the company's pre-market publication of data regarding a mesothelioma treatment it's currently developing.

So what: Verastem announced  the publication of a paper with the dry scientific title of "Merlin Deficiency Predicts FAK Inhibitor Sensitivity: A Synthetic Lethal Relationship" in Science Translational Medicine this morning. The paper's primary conclusion is that the loss of tumor-suppressing merlin is a predictor of a cancer stem cell's increased responsiveness to focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitor drugs. In other words, Verastem's development-stage FAK-inhibitor drug VS-6063 (defactinib) now has further scientific support for its ongoing development and eventual FDA approval.

Now what: Verastem shareholders have had a wild ride in the past year, as shares nearly doubled twice on a roller-coaster ride that's essentially brought one-year returns close to zero. VS-6063 is its most promising development, and investors have a way to go before anything can happen on the commercial side, if anything will. The paper is available online for purchase (link opens new window) for truly dedicated (and science-savvy) investors, and that may be your best source of guidance on any possible Verastem investment for some time.

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Alex Planes 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.

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