What happened

Shares of the clinical-stage biotech Geron Corp. (NASDAQ:GERN) rose by as much as 10.5% in early morning trading today on sky-high volume. What's up? 

Investors appear to be bidding up Geron's shares ahead of the company's upcoming fourth-quarter earnings release scheduled for this Friday after the market close.

A rocket taking off.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

With this latest move factored in, Geron's stock has now appreciated by a whopping 70% since the start of the year. The big deal here is that Geron's first-in-class telomerase inhibitor, imetelstat, is inching ever closer to the third internal review for its ongoing trials for the blood disorders myelofibrosis (MF) and myelodysplastic (MDS) syndromes.

While the exact date for this review hasn't been released, investors seem to think that the company may provide at least some insight during its earnings release on Friday and the accompanying conference call next Monday morning. 

Now what

Geron's shares are probably going to continue to rise heading into this pivotal event, and perhaps significantly so. Even if the company maintains radio silence on the status of its imetelstat collaboration with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) this Friday, after all, there's a very strong chance that the duo will end up releasing a significant clinical update in the not-so-distant future.

Most importantly, this next clinical update should be accompanied by the all-important "continuation decision" by J&J. So far, all signs seem to point to J&J green-lighting the next steps of imetelstat's development, but nothing is guaranteed in this case. Thus, investors shouldn't buy more of this speculative biotech than they can afford to lose. Geron's fate, after all, hinges entirely on imetelstat's success -- or failure. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.