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Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. Spending Cuts Help Preserve Cash in the 2nd Quarter

By Keith Speights – Aug 9, 2018 at 6:30AM

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The clinical-stage biotech sees bottom-line improvement after slashing spending following a big pipeline setback earlier this year.

In many respects, Celldex Therapeutics (CLDX -0.20%) is a different company than it was in the first few months of this year. Things changed radically for the biotech after it announced on April 16 that its lead candidate, glembatumumab vedotin (glemba), failed to meet the primary endpoint in a pivotal study targeting the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer.

Celldex provided an update on its second-quarter performance after the market closed on Wednesday. As you might expect for a clinical-stage biotech like Celldex, there wasn't much for investors to hang their hats on with the financial results. However, Celldex did make some progress toward rebuilding in the second quarter. Here are the highlights from the company's update.

Scientist holding test tube with healthcare icons displayed in foreground

Image source: Getty Images.

Celldex Therapeutics results: The raw numbers

Metric 

Q2 2018 

Q2 2017 

Year-Over-Year Change

Revenue

$2.76 million $3.83 million

(27.9%)

Net loss from continuing operations

($16.41 million) ($28.57 million)

N/A

Net loss per share 

($0.11) ($0.23)

N/A

Data source: Celldex Therapeutics.

What happened with Celldex Therapeutics this quarter?

Any revenue for Celldex at this point comes from collaborations or contracts with other organizations. In the second quarter, the biotech's revenue fell from the prior-year period because of lower contract revenue from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.

After the big pipeline setback for glemba earlier this year, Celldex restructured and made big staff reductions. As a result, the company's expenses were significantly lower than in the prior-year period. These moves helped Celldex's bottom line improve somewhat from the second quarter of 2017.

The most important financial metric for Celldex, though, was its cash position. At the end of the second quarter, the biotech reported cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities of $114 million, reflecting a relatively small decline from $123.2 million as of March 31. A stock offering that raised $8.3 million reduced the amount of cash the company used in the second quarter.

Celldex made progress with its pipeline during the quarter. The biotech presented data from its phase 1/2 study of varlilumab in combination with Opdivo at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in June. Celldex also continues to enroll patients in a phase 2 clinical study evaluating CDX-3379 in combination with Erbitux in treating advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. In addition, enrollment is under way for a phase 1 study evaluating CDX-1140 in treating multiple types of solid tumors. 

What management had to say

Celldex Therapeutics CEO Anthony Marucci stated:

During the second quarter, we continued to focus on advancing CDX-1140, our promising antibody targeted to CD40, a key activator of immune response, and CDX-3379, which blocks the ErbB3 receptor, an important regulator of cancer cell growth and survival. We have completed the third monotherapy dose level in the ongoing phase 1 study of CDX-1140 and are encouraged with the tolerability, immune system activation, and early signs of biological activity we have seen to date. We will also be exploring the potential of combining CDX-1140 with our dendritic cell mobilizer, CDX-301, and plan to begin enrolling those cohorts in September. In the next few months, we expect to complete enrollment in the first stage of our phase 2 combination study of CDX-3379 and Erbitux in advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. 

Looking forward

With glemba no longer in the picture, Celldex is a long way from potentially advancing a product to commercialization. That means investors must closely watch the biotech's cash position. Celldex appears to have made the right moves to reduce spending. These spending cuts, combined with potential stock sales under its existing agreement with Cantor, should allow Celldex to fund operations through 2020.  

Keith Speights has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Celldex Therapeutics. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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