Last December, a share of Trillium Therapeutics (TRIL) would have barely bought a postage stamp. The shares stood at $0.30 each and the company seemed destined for the heap of failed biotech stocks that litter the last few decades of the stock market. Since then, the stock has rallied 5,000% -- 50 times in value. Did you miss out on this rocket ship or is there still time to climb on board?
Focus on the prize
When CEO Jan Skvarka took over a year ago, he leveraged his experience at famous consulting firm Bain & Co. and Harvard Business School to drop the company's lead drug program. Instead, the company focused on a novel approach to treat blood cancers. That program, which contains two candidates, focuses on CD47 -- a protein that cancer cells overexpress to protect themselves from the human immune system. So far, the results in Phase 1 trials have been promising.
More room to run
The results have drawn the interest of both hedge funds and pharmaceutical companies. The company secured a $25 million investment from Pfizer and has attracted the money of several well-known hedge funds. So far, the gamble to focus on blood cancer has paid off.
The bet could pay off even bigger. Focusing on CD47 is the same approach taken by Forty Seven, a company that was acquired by Gilead Sciences for nearly $5 billion in March. With a $1.5 billion market cap, a similar deal for Trillium would still provide investors with immense upside.
Skvarka is keeping his options open. Although he acknowledges the journey ahead, his aspiration is to challenge chemotherapy. A goal like that makes it easy to ignore hypothetical gains missed and focus on the potential for future returns.