What happened 

Shares of Compugen (CGEN -0.42%) rose 17.86% on Thursday. The clinical-stage immunotherapy pharmaceutical company focuses on oncology therapies and uses artificial intelligence to find new drug targets and biological pathways for cancer therapies.

The stock closed on Wednesday at $0.8909 a share, then opened on Thursday at $0.87. It rose to its daily high of $1.07 before settling to $1.05 at the close. It has a 52-week high of $4.99 and a 52-week low of $0.51, which it fell to just last month. With such a low share price, it doesn't take much for a big percentage gain or loss.

So what

It may have just taken the markets a full day to react to the news on Wednesday that Compugen had struck a licensing deal with AstraZeneca that means a $7.5 million milestone payment for Compugen regarding AZD2936. The therapy is a bispecific antibody taken from Compugen's COM902, an anti-TIGIT antibody. TIGIT is an immune receptor present on some T cells and natural killer cells (NK), and is overrepresented in many tumors. 

The news comes on the heels of the company's third-quarter earnings report on Monday, in which it noted that it had no debt and $88 million in cash, enough to fund operations through the end of 2024. It also listed a net income loss of $11.7 million, or $0.14 in earnings per share (EPS), compared to a loss of $6.2 million in the third quarter of 2021 and an EPS loss of $0.07 in the same period a year ago.

Now what

The announcement of a milestone payment gives the biotech company a few more months to develop its lead therapies. In the report, the company cited early positive trials for COM701 as a combination therapy to treat ovarian cancer and metastatic colorectal cancer.