Most of the time when a company reports its quarterly financial results, investors focus on sales and earnings growth compared with the prior-year period. It's different, though, for a clinical-stage biotech like Celldex Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CLDX). In the second quarter, for example, the big story for Celldex focused on the company's spending cuts that allowed it to stretch out its cash stockpile.

So when Celldex announced its third-quarter results after the market closed on Wednesday, the standard financial numbers were included -- but they just weren't as important as they'd be for most other companies. Here are the highlights from the biotech's update. 

Face of scientist with safety glasses on with a gloved hand holding a beaker in front of him.

Image source: Getty Images.

Celldex Therapeutics results: The raw numbers

Metric 

Q3 2018 

Q3 2017 

Year-Over-Year Change

Sales

$941,000 $3.92 million

(76%)

Net income from continuing operations

($7.24 million) ($26.36 million)

N/A

Adjusted earnings per share (EPS)

($0.04) ($0.20)

N/A

Data Source: Celldex Therapeutics.

What happened with Celldex Therapeutics this quarter?

The most important thing about the raw numbers shown above is Celldex's bottom line and the impact it has on the biotech's cash position. While the company still posted a big loss, it was narrower than the same period in 2017 and also improved from the $16.41 million net loss reported in the second quarter of 2018.

Celldex restructured after the clinical setback for glembatumumab vedotin (glemba) in April. The subsequent staff reductions and other spending cuts were absolutely necessary for the company to continue advancing its pipeline candidates.

As of Sept. 30, 2018, Celldex had cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities totaling $105.6 million. At the end of the second quarter, the company's cash position stood at $114 million. At the current rate of spending, Celldex should be able to fund operations through 2020 -- including the potential to sell additional shares through its Cantor agreement. 

Celldex's biggest achievements during the third quarter related to keeping its clinical studies moving forward. The biotech is evaluating CDX-3379 in a phase 2 study targeting the treatment of advanced head and neck squamous cell cancer. Enrollment in a phase 1 study is underway for CDX-1140 in treating solid tumors. 

What management had to say

Anthony Marucci, Celldex co-founder, president, and CEO, stated:

We made considerable progress in the third quarter, particularly in the development program for CDX-1140, our promising antibody targeted to CD40. We have completed four of the potential eight monotherapy dose levels in the ongoing phase 1 study and remain encouraged by the safety and biological profile we have observed to date. We look forward to sharing interim data at the SITC Annual Meeting later this week. During the third quarter, we also began enrolling patients in a combination cohort of CDX-1140 with our dendritic cell mobilizer, CDX-301. We are very interested to explore the potential of CDX-1140 in the presence of greater dendritic cell activity.

Looking forward

On Nov. 9, 2018, Celldex presents interim data from its phase 1 dose-escalation study of CDX-1140 in solid tumors at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer's (SITC) annual meeting. Data from the glioblastoma cohort in its phase 1/2 study of varlilumab and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo will also be presented at the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) annual meeting on Nov. 17, 2018.

The next big pipeline milestone will come in the first quarter of 2019. Celldex expects to report data from the first stage of the phase 2 study of CDX-3379 in advanced head and neck squamous cell cancer.

For investors, though, the most critical thing to watch is the status of Celldex Therapeutics' listing on the Nasdaq Global Market. The company disclosed on May 29, 2018, that Nasdaq informed it that it was no longer in compliance with the $1 minimum bid price requirement.

Celldex has until Nov. 26, 2018, to regain compliance. That probably won't happen. The company's next move will be to apply to transfer to the Nasdaq Capital Market. This gives Celldex another 180 days for its bid price to climb to $1. If this level isn't reached, the company would likely implement a reverse stock split

These are short-term maneuvers, though. The real key to Celldex's success rests with its pipeline candidates. If clinical studies go well, the biotech shouldn't have to worry about meeting stock exchange listing requirements in the future.

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