What happened

Shares of Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:CLDX) sailed 11.8% higher as of 3:22 p.m. EDT on Thursday. The most likely reason driving Celldex's nice gain is the rising tide for biotech stocks in general thanks to the release of abstracts to be presented at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) 2018 meeting in December.

Celldex isn't presenting at ASH this year but, scientists from Emory University are scheduled to present data from research involving the biotech's pipeline candidate CDX-301. This research was partially funded by Celldex.

Three scientists working in a lab and writing things down.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Celldex's jump today reflected improving sentiment for the beaten-down biotech industry a lot more than it did anything new for the company itself. The one abstract featuring Celldex's CDX-301 was only a preclinical study conducted on mice. The data from the research could be promising for Celldex -- but it's still really early.

Microcap stocks like Celldex Therapeutics are likely to experience relatively big swings both up and down based on broader market movements. That's especially the case when other biotech stocks are also moving up or down significantly. For example, Celldex's share price sank last week on no news at all other than other biotechs presenting at the European Society of Medical Oncology's annual meeting.

Investors can pretty much ignore these kinds of gains and losses. If Celldex had presented terrific data from one of its clinical studies of varlilumab, CDX-301, CDX-1140, or CDX-3379 at a major conference -- or even terrible data -- it would be something to seriously evaluate. But that's not what's going on, so today's move is basically noise.

Now what

Celldex does have a lot of activity going on. It's conducting an ongoing phase 1 study of CDX-1140. The company said in its Q2 update that enrollment of a study of CDX-1140 in combination with CDX-301 would begin in September. Celldex should also be close to completing enrollment in the first part of its phase 2 combo study of CDX-3379 and Lilly's Erbitux in treating advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Investors will want to keep their ears and eyes open for progress on all of these fronts. Celldex should provide an update when it reports its third-quarter results in the next few weeks.

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