What happened

Shares of Agenus (AGEN -3.38%), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that specializes in immuno-oncology, saw its shares jump 18.4% on Thursday. The stock closed on Wednesday at $2.37, then opened on Thursday at $2.35, before rising to a high of $2.80 just before the market closed. It has a 52-week low of $1.25 and a 52-week high of $5.86. It is down a little more than 14% for the year.

So what

Two bits of news were enough to drive the stock higher. First, the company on Wednesday said it planned to present data on botensilimab, a therapy that is being studied for its effectiveness as a combination drug or a monotherapy to active T-cell immune responses in patients who have pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, or melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

Another move that helped push up the stock was the announcement of inside buying of Agenus stock by some members of the company's board of directors on Wednesday, including Susan Hirsch, Wadih Jordan, Ulf Wiinberg, and Timothy Wright, totaling more than 30,000 Agenus shares.

Now what

Agenus looks like a good long-term bet, but like any clinical-stage biotech company, there's plenty of risk here. The company is in a decent cash position with $238 million as of its second-quarter report, and is seeing improved revenue (all from collaboration, royalties, and milestone payments) of $21 million, up from $10 million in the second quarter of 2021. The company is still losing money, but it is beginning to trim its losses. It lost $49 million or $0.17 in earnings per share (EPS) in the second quarter, compared to a loss of $84 million and $0.37 in EPS in the same period last year. The company's strong pipeline also makes it a decent buyout candidate for a larger pharmaceutical company.