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3 Biotech Stocks With Huge Catalysts Incoming

By Cory Renauer – Oct 22, 2021 at 6:13AM

Key Points

  • BeyondSpring could soon earn approval for its first cancer drug.
  • Allakos expects clinical trial data that could send the stock shooting higher in the fourth quarter.
  • Topline results for a cancer drug that Deciphera plans to present before the end of the year could push the biotech stock through the roof.

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These drugmakers have big events that should occur before the end of 2021.

If you're looking for stocks that can make big moves on a relatively predictable timeline, the biotechnology space has you covered. Hardly a day goes by where you don't see at least one stock from this industry rocket higher, or crash and burn. 

Right now, investors are waiting for news from BeyondSpring (BYSI 3.85%), Allakos (ALLK -4.76%), and Deciphera Pharmaceuticals (DCPH -2.96%) that could send their stock prices screaming higher, or lower, overnight. Here's why. 

Three scientists working in a biotechnology laboratory.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. BeyondSpring

Shares of BeyondSpring more than tripled in August after the clinical-stage biotech's lead candidate, plinabulin, produced positive results. During a clinical trial with lung cancer patients called Dublin-3, adding plinabulin to standard chemotherapy significantly reduced patients' risk of death.

In September, BeyondSpring tanked after the company gave investors a closer look at Dublin-3 data. In a nutshell, the treatment might not be any more effective than existing options.

Recent lung cancer data was a little disappointing, but investors may be missing the point here. Plinabulin isn't intended to fight cancer directly. It's meant to stop toxic chemotherapy from destroying white blood cells. A lack of white blood cells, or neutropenia, is a dangerous complication that frequently interrupts chemotherapy treatment.

On or before Nov. 30, 2021, the FDA is expected to issue an approval decision for BeyondSpring's lead candidate plinabulin. If given a green light to treat chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, it could become an important new treatment for lots of different cancer patients.

Scientists at work in a lab.

Image source: Getty Images.

2. Allakos

Shares of this clinical-stage biotech stock soared in late 2020 when the company published compelling results of a phase 2 trial with its lead candidate, lirentelimab. Since then, attention has waned along with a stock price that's about 32% below its all-time high. 

Before the end of 2021, Allakos stock could soar to new heights all over again. The company expects to report topline data from a phase 3 trial with lirentelimab and patients with severe cases of stomach inflammation.

Lirentelimab reduces circulating eosinophils, the heavy artillery squad of your immune system. Eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EoG), or stomach inflammation led by eosinophil activity, is a rare disorder that probably isn't nearly as rare as once thought. Without any available treatments that can address the issue directly, physicians haven't been eager to test for the presence of eosinophils when patients complain about chronic stomach irritation.

Lirentelimab has been proven to reduce the presence of eosinophils in the stomach lining. When the company reads out the results of its ongoing phase 3 trial, we'll find out if this translates to significantly improved outcomes.

Scientist filling vials in lab.

Image source: Getty Images.

3. Deciphera

Shares of Deciphera have fallen around 49% since they reached a peak last year. This is because sales of its lead product, a stomach cancer drug called Qinlock, have been somewhat disappointing since it launched in 2020. 

At the moment, Qinlock's addressable patient population is limited to patients with tumors that keep coming back after at least three previous lines of treatment. Before the end of the year, we could find out if Deciphera's drug can move up to the second-line setting.

Topline results from the phase 3 Intrigue study of Qinlock with stomach cancer patients who progressed after their first line of treatment are due in the fourth quarter. If Qinlock does a better job at fighting tumors and preventing disease progression than standard care, its annual sales potential will skyrocket from roughly $100 million at the moment to more than $1 billion.

At recent prices, Deciphera's market cap is just $1.95 billion. That makes it an attractive takeout target for deep-pocketed pharmaceutical giants eager to expand their product lines with new drugs.

Cory Renauer has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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