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Celldex Therapeutics' Cost-Cutting and Reverse Stock Split Help Keep It Rolling

By Keith Speights – Updated Apr 11, 2019 at 9:15PM

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The clinical-stage biotech stretched out its cash in the fourth quarter by cost reductions and took the necessary moves in the following months to retain its listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Celldex Therapeutics (CLDX -0.85%) is in a much different place than it was one year ago. The biotech continues to feel the repercussions from the failure of glembatumumab vedotin (glemba) in the Metric clinical study targeting the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer.

But just as Celldex plugged away in the third quarter, the company kept moving forward in the fourth quarter, as well. Celldex provided an update of its fourth-quarter performance after the market closed on Thursday. Here are the highlights.

Pipette with lab glassware.

Image source: Getty Images.

Celldex Therapeutics results: The raw numbers


Q4 2018 

Q4 2017 

Year-Over-Year Change


$1.76 million $3.46 million


Net income (loss) from continuing operations

($9.4 million) ($3.84 million)


Diluted earnings (loss) per share (EPS)

($0.81) ($0.42)


Cash position

$94 million $139.4 million


Data Source: Celldex Therapeutics. EPS = earnings per share.

What happened with Celldex Therapeutics this quarter?

Celldex doesn't have an approved product on the market. Its revenue in the fourth quarter came from licensing agreements, contracts, and grants. The big decline from the prior-year period was primarily due to lower contract revenue from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and Frontier Biotechnologies.

Although the biotech's bottom line deteriorated, it could have been a lot worse. Celldex cut costs following the failure of glemba last year. As a result, its operating costs declined 52% year over year, to $13.9 million. 

The belt-tightening by Celldex also helped the company stretch out its cash. Celldex reported cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities of $94 million as of Dec. 31, 2018, compared to $105.6 million as of Sept. 30, 2018. The company used $15.4 million of cash to fund operations, with $1.4 million of that amount related to glemba payments. Celldex also generated $3.6 million in cash by selling shares.

Probably the biggest news for Celldex came after the end of the fourth quarter. The company completed a 1 for 15 reverse stock split on Feb. 8, 2019. This move was required for Celldex to regain its compliance with the minimum $1.00 bid price required by Nasdaq.

Check out the latest earnings call transcript for Celldex.

What management had to say

Celldex Therapeutics CEO Anthony Marucci stated, "Celldex made important progress across our pipeline in the fourth quarter, continuing to execute on our ongoing CDX-1140 and CDX-3379 clinical programs and advancing earlier stage assets that we believe have the potential to play an important role in the future of the organization." Marucci added:

Data from both the CDX-1140 and MerTK programs were presented at SITC in November and we look forward to providing an update on CDX-1140 at AACR in early April. In the ongoing Phase 1 study of CDX-1140 in solid tumors and B cell lymphomas, we have completed six of the potential eight monotherapy dose levels and the first of six potential combination dose levels with CDX-301 and are pleased with the safety and biological profile we have observed to date. We also continue to follow patients in the Phase 2 study of CDX-3379 in advanced head and neck squamous cell cancer and plan to present data from this study at a medical meeting in the coming months. We believe 2019 will be an important year for Celldex with data anticipated across multiple programs.

Looking forward

There are several things for investors to watch with Celldex in the coming months. The biotech is scheduled to present interim data from its phase 1 study evaluating experimental cancer drug CDX-1140 on April 2, 2019 at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting. It will also present preclinical data for its MerTK antibody program at the AACR event.

Celldex completed patient enrollment in the first stage of its phase 2 study evaluating CDX-3379 in combination with Erbitux in treating advanced head and neck squamous cell cancer. The biotech plans to conduct a comprehensive review of the full data set from the first stage of this study before making a decision on advancing enrollment to the second stage. Celldex also plans to present data from this study at a medical meeting later this year.

The company continues to think that its cash position, together with anticipated future sales of stock under its existing Cantor agreement, will enable it to fund operations through 2020.

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.

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