Why Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Popped, Then Flatlined

Is this meaningful or just another movement?

Sean Williams
Sean Williams
Sep 10, 2012 at 12:00AM

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: The rally in cancer-focused biopharmaceutical company Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: PPHM) continued for a second straight day, with the company up as much as 14% at its peak, following positive data from its lead non-small cell lung cancer drug and after reporting its first-quarter results this morning. However, the stock has given up all of its gains and is unchanged as of this writing.

So what: The immediate news this morning was Peregrine's first-quarter report, which showed a 25% drop in revenue to $4.25 million largely due to lower contract revenue at its subsidiary Avid Bioservices, and a loss $0.07, which was better than the $0.11 loss it had reported in the year-ago quarter. A 13% drop in expenses aided Peregrine in reporting a smaller loss.

The big news remains the positive results of bavituximab in a phase 2b trial released late last week. In combination with docetaxel versus a placebo trial that just used docetaxel by itself, bavituximab demonstrated a doubling in survival rates and was generally well tolerated. Bavituximab is a second-line treatment for stage 3b/4 NSCLC patients that have had at least one chemotherapy regimen.

Now what: Now we wait for additional data. I would really love this to be a positive move toward better care for cancer patients, but smaller biotechnology companies have a very poor track record when it comes to developing cancer treatments on their own. The excitement around the drug is justified, but I'd really like to see those phase 3 results before I get in an uproar.

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