Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Here's Why bluebird bio Jumped 13.5% Today

By Brian Orelli, PhD - Nov 1, 2018 at 4:18PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Early data from the American Society of Hematology meeting suggests the biotech's drug pipeline is as strong as ever.

What happened

Shares of bluebird bio (BLUE 2.80%) closed up 13.5% today following the release of abstracts for the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting in early December. Bluebird is scheduled to present data for its LentiGlobin gene therapy and its next-generation CAR T therapy, bb21217, as well as data from an early stage trial of BCL11a shRNAmiR in patients with sickle cell disease.

So what

The data on LentiGlobin for transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia is the most important event for Bluebird's near-term success since the gene therapy is the furthest along of the biotech's pipeline candidates. Today's move, however, is more likely due to the promising data for the earlier-stage candidates.

In a phase 1 trial testing bb21217 on patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, 6 of 7 patients demonstrated clinical response, which isn't too bad considering the patients had previously received a median of nine prior lines of therapy. One patient had previously been treated with a whopping 17 lines of therapy.

In another phase I study, treatment of sickle cell disease patients with BCL11a shRNAmiR reduced the expression of BCL11A protein by 90% compared to pre-treatment levels. BCL11A is responsible for switching from fetal hemoglobin, which isn't a problem for sickle cell patients, to the defective beta hemoglobin. By turning off the switch, patients no longer had irreversibly sickled cells

Normal and sickled red blood cells

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

The cutoff for data to be included in the abstract was months ago, so the presentations at the ASH meeting will be important to see if the promising results for bb21217 and BCL11a shRNAmiR hold up when tested on larger patient populations.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

bluebird bio, Inc. Stock Quote
bluebird bio, Inc.
$4.40 (2.80%) $0.12

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/25/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.