What happened

Shares of Clovis Oncology (NASDAQ:CLVS), a biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology, notched some gains as investors digested the fourth-quarter earnings report. The stock ended Wednesday's session 13.2% higher.

So what 

Although Clovis Oncology didn't quite meet consensus targets during the last three months of 2018, sales of Rubraca are showing signs of life again. A few months ago, the market crushed Clovis shares after the company reported third-quarter Rubraca sales that were $1 million below the previous quarter. Today the stock jumped because fourth-quarter Rubraca sales came in 33% higher than the previous quarter.

person hiding behind a large arrow that's pointing up.

Image source: Getty Images.

Rubraca is a PARP inhibitor that's approved to treat ovarian cancer patients following a relapse, and it shares this indication with Lynparza from and Zejula, both of which have backing from big pharma. Seeing Clovis produce significant sales growth in the fourth quarter gives investors hope that another label expansion will occur before the biotech needs to tap investors again.

Now what

Clovis finished 2018 with $520 million in cash after losing $99.3 million during the fourth quarter. At this rate, Rubraca sales need to keep surging soon, or another share offering could be necessary about one short year from now. 

There's a chance Rubraca sales will perk up as its European launch in the second-line maintenance setting gains steam. Before the end of the year, Clovis expects to submit an application to treat prostate cancer patients after they've failed to respond to hormonal treatments and chemotherapy.

Clovis is also running a phase 3 study with first-line ovarian cancer patients in combination with Opdivo, a popular immunotherapy for a handful of different malignancies. Clovis' outlook isn't terrific right now, but it could be a lot worse.