What happened

Shares of ImmunoGen (NASDAQ:IMGN) closed Wednesday 12.4% higher as investors piled into the biotech ahead of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, which starts Saturday.http://investor.immunogen.com/news-releases/news-release-details/immunogen-present-new-data-imgn632-61st-ash-annual-meeting

So what

On Monday afternoon at ASH, ImmuoGen is scheduled to present data from an early-stage phase 1 clinical trial of IMGN632 in patients with two types of blood cancers: acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN).

An abstract for the presentation released last month showed IMGN632 produced a 32% response rate in 19 patients with AML who were treated at the dose that will be used in the drug's phase 2 study. In patients with BPDCN, the response rate was even higher at 43%, although there were only seven evaluable patients.

The abstracts for ASH had to be submitted in early August, so presumably, ImmunoGen's presentation next week will have data from more patients, which could give investors more confidence that IMGN632 is truly active.https://www.hematology.org/Annual-Meeting/Abstracts/2853.aspx

Woman in a hospital bed holding hands with another woman

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

ImmunoGen's investors could certainly use some good news after the phase 3 clinical trial failure of mirvetuximab soravtansine as a treatment for ovarian cancer. The company believes the drug will work in patients with tumors that express high levels of folate receptor alpha, the target of mirvetuximab, but that phase 3 clinical trial hasn't even started yet, so ImmunoGen is years away from getting that candidate drug on the market.

To help ensure it has the resources to get there, ImmunoGen is conserving the approximately $200 million in cash it had in the bank at the end of the third quarter. However, positive early-stage data for IMGN632 could help the biotech ease its cash concerns by either licensing the drug to a large-pharma partner or, if its valuation gets buoyed further, selling new shares via a secondary stock offering.