Shares of the clinical-stage T-cell receptor (TCR) therapy company Alaunos Therapeutics (TCRT -5.00%) were up by an eye-catching 21.7% on higher than normal volume, as of 2:53 p.m. ET Thursday. What's particularly impressive about this double-digit move higher is that the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite have all been struggling to stay in positive territory today over growing fears that the U.S. economy might be headed for a recession.
What's behind Alaunos' contrarian move today? The biotech's stock has been bolting higher ever since management announced an upcoming medical conference presentation slated for Sept. 30, 2022. In fact, Alaunos' stock is currently up by a noteworthy 42.3% since it filed an 8-K form with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Aug. 24 disclosing this presentation.
What's all the excitement about? Alauno's experimental TCR platform may prove to be a major step forward in the treatment of solid tumors with genetically engineered cell therapies.
At present, the biotech is trialing its platform in a variety of solid tumor settings, including, but not limited to, liver, lung, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers. All of these indications have blockbuster-level sales potential.
Is Alaunos stock still a buy right now? I think so. My optimism stems partly from the fact that the company's stock appears to be getting a boost from a healthy dose of short covering right now. At last count, short sellers held over 13% of the biotech's outstanding shares. It's going to take some time for shorts to unwind this sizable position ahead of the upcoming data drop, a fact which bodes well for the stock's near-term outlook.