Shares of Alaunos Therapeutics (TCRT -5.00%) jumped 48.9% this week, according to data from S&P Global Intelligence. The company, which specializes in oncology cell therapies using its non-viral Sleeping Beauty gene-transfer technology, closed last Friday at $1.80 and opened Monday at $1.77. The stock jumped to $2.07 on Wednesday and then ran all the way to $2.68 on Thursday, its 52-week high, before closing at $2.42. The stock is up more than 122% this year.
The move up was merely an acceleration for a stock that has been climbing all year. There are several reasons behind that.
The company has a clinical and strategic collaboration with the National Cancer Institute. It has an early-stage TCR-T T-cell therapy trial for a therapy that targets cancer-causing mutations across six solid tumor indications. It also recently said it is set to release phase 1 results from its therapy to treat advanced non-small-cell lung cancer at an International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference in New York on Sept. 30.
There's plenty of risk in the stock because there are so many stages Alaunos has to go through to have an approved therapy. The Phase 1/2 trial for its multiple mutation therapy isn't anticipated to be completed until December of 2025 at the earliest.
It's important to note that this is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical, so it isn't earning any product revenue yet. In the second quarter, which it reported on Aug. 15, the company said it had cash of $60 million, enough to last into the second quarter of 2023. It had a net loss of $9.9 million, or an EPS loss of $0.05 per share.
The biotech company's rise has a lot to do with how well it has overcome the tribulations it had last year, when it dropped two clinical programs, cut staff by 15%, moved its headquarters from Boston to Houston, and changed its name from Ziopharm Oncology.