What happened

Shares of Celldex Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:CLDX), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel new cancer therapies, slipped 13% on Friday. There wasn't any news specific to the company today -- it just fell along with the rest of the industry.

So what 

Celldex Therapeutics hasn't had much to say to investors since presenting pre-clinical data in November. The stock slid along with the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which dropped 11% this week.

Frustrated stock trader in front of monitors.

Image source: Getty Images.

If we've learned anything this year, it's that combining immunotherapies doesn't work nearly as often as was expected a couple years ago. Investors losing faith in the combination approach is a problem for Celldex because none of its experimental therapies seem to do much on their own.

Celldex reported results from the first four ascending cohorts in a dose determination study for CDX-1140 in November. The drug is supposed to activate immune responses to cancer, but it looks like Celldex didn't even measure tumors to see if they responded. 

CDX-301 helped 5 out of the first 9 advanced-stage lung cancer patients treated in a phase 2 study survive for four months without any signs of disease progression. The candidate was combined with radiation treatment in a single-arm study, so we can't be sure the radiation didn't do all the work.

Now what

The good news for Celldex is that there are still a lot of deep-pocketed pharmaceutical companies eager to pump up their pipelines with oncology assets. 

Celldex finished the third quarter with $105.6 million in cash and securities after losing just $7.2 million during the three-month period. That could give the company's early-stage candidates plenty of time to shine before the company needs to ask investors for more capital.

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