What happened

Legend Biotech (LEGN -2.61%), a commercial-stage Chinese biotech company that specializes in oncology and cell therapies, saw its shares rise 14.2% on Tuesday. The stock closed on Monday at $40.20, then opened on Tuesday at $41.44. It rose to a high of $46.53 after lunch before closing at $45.91. With the rise, the stock is in the middle of its 52-week swing, with a 52-week low of $30.75 and a 52-week high of $57.67. So far this year, the stock is down 1.5% overall.

So what

The stock jumped thanks to preliminary sales figures for multiple myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer) therapy Carvykti (ciltacabtagene autoleucel; ciltacel), developed by Legend in collaboration with Janssen Biotech, a division of Johnson & Johnson. According to an SEC filing, Legend said that the drug generated $55 million in revenue in the third quarter, based on information given to the company by Janssen.

The CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor T-cell) therapy was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma patients in February.

It is the first marketed therapy for Legend, and the strong early sales brought in investors. Through six months (not yet counting collaboration revenue from Carvykti), the company's preliminary report declared a loss of $196 million, to $228.9 million. The collaboration revenue it gets from Janssen will help the company develop its more than 10 pipeline programs in blood disorders, solid tumors, and infectious diseases. As of July, the company said it had $379.8 million in cash.

Now what

Carvykti is competing against another CAR-T therapy to treat multiple myeloma. Abecma, developed by Bristol Myers Squibb and Bluebird Bio, was approved in March of 2021, so it has a head start on Carvykti. Through six months, Bristol Myers reported $89 million in sales for Abecma. It will be interesting to see if Carvykti's sales catch up as Janssen ramps up sales. Regardless, the early numbers are a good sign for Legend going forward.