Shares of CTI BioPharma (CTIC) moved sharply higher after the drugmaker reported first-quarter results Friday morning. Investors were pleased with the initial sales figures for Vonjo, its first approved drug, and pushed the stock price 20.8% higher as of 11:22 a.m. ET.
On March 1, 2022, the FDA approved Vonjo to treat patients with myelofibrosis, a rare bone marrow disorder. During the clinical trial that led to its approval, 29% of patients treated with Vonjo achieved a significant improvement compared to just 3% of the placebo group. How well those study results would translate into product sales, though, was uncertain.
Despite launching during the last month of the three-month period, sales of Vonjo reached $2.3 million during the first quarter, and investors expect a great deal more before the year is through. Jakafi, a competing myelofibrosis treatment from Incyte (INCY -0.76%), is a blockbuster that generated $2.1 billion in sales last year.
CTI BioPharma is still losing money hand over fist but it's probably just a matter of time before it has positive cash flow to report. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recently named Vonjo as a recommended treatment for different groups of myelofibrosis patients who aren't eligible for bone marrow transplants.
CTI BioPharma and biotech stocks across the board have been having a hard time getting investors' attention recently. As a result, it looks like a bargain right now. Even after Friday's big gain, the biotech company still sports a modest market cap of just $451 million. If Vonjo's sales get anywhere close to those of competing treatments, investors who buy CTI BioPharma stock at this price could reap some impressive gains.