What happened

Geron Corporation (GERN -1.07%), a late-stage biotech company, saw its shares rise as much as 15.2% on Wednesday, though it closed the day 14.78% higher. The stock, which closed at $2.30 on Tuesday, rose to a high of $2.65 on Wednesday and closed at $2.64, just a little under its 52-week high of $2.67. The stock is up more than 115% so far this year.

So what

Geron has been riding high all year, so this move was just a continuation of that. The upward pressure on the stock may also have forced some with short positions to scramble to cover those positions. The company's lead candidate, imetelstat, is being looked at as a cell therapy to treat various blood disorders. It is in two Phase 3 clinical trials: the first to treat patients with low or intermediate-1 risk myelodysplastic syndromes, a group of disorders where blood cells are not formed properly in the bone marrow; and the other to treat patients with intermediate-2 or high-risk myelofibrosis, a rare type of bone marrow cancer.

The top-line results of the first study are expected early next year, meaning the company could present its New Drug Application (NDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sometime next year and if all goes well, it could go to market by 2024. The interim analysis for the second trial is expected in 2024.

Now what

As for any clinical-stage biotech company, there's plenty of risk with its stock. Investors will be waiting for the first data readout on the Phase 3 trials. The company sees the drug as a blockbuster with annual $1.8 billion in potential revenue, just from refractory myelofibrosis patients.

The company's only current revenue is royalties from sales of the company's divested stem cell assets. It reported revenue of $73,000 in the second quarter, compared to $107,000 in the same period last year. It said it had a net loss of $28.1 million, or $0.07 in earnings per share (EPS), compared to a loss of $29.6 million, or an EPS loss of $0.09 in the second quarter of 2021. More importantly, the company has added to its debt to prepare for the eventual commercialization of imetelstat. It said it has $220 million in cash, plus access to another $174 million in funding, enough to fund operations through the middle of 2024.