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Why Clovis Oncology, Inc. Shares Jumped

By Sean Williams – Feb 28, 2014 at 1:21PM

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Clovis Oncology shares jump following the company's fourth-quarter report and a pair of analyst upgrades. Find out why investors would be wise to remain cautious of this move higher.

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: Shares of Clovis Oncology (CLVS -7.65%), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing anti-cancer therapies, jumped as much as 14% after reporting its fourth-quarter earnings results, updating the development of its three pipeline products, and receiving two upgrades.

So what: For the quarter, Clovis reported no revenue and a wider net loss of $29.2 million, or $0.92 per share, from the $21.1 million loss, or $0.81 per share, reported in the year-ago period. By comparison, this was a $0.14 per share wider loss than the Street had expected. Luckily, the company's pipeline update made up for it. In the words of CEO Patrick Mahaffy, "We are now aggressively moving forward with our plan to initiate registration studies for CO-1686 in the second quarter. We have also initiated a global Phase 3 registration study for rucaparib and will initiate our Phase 2 lucitanib studies in the next couple of months. This has been a period of rapid progress for our company that we hope will lead to our first New Drug Application (NDA) submission in 2015." On the heels of this drug progression, Leerink upped its price target on Clovis to $110 from $104 while JPMorgan Chase also raised its target price to $101 from $94.

Now what: While it's certainly good to see Clovis' studies advancing with no worrisome safety issues, I'd also remind investors that there was a lot of promise surrounding pancreatic cancer treatment CO-101, which failed to get out of mid-stage clinical studies in 2012. In other words, investors and analysts alike are giving a lot of credence to Clovis' early studies but have forgotten that it's burning through cash and has no currently marketable therapies yet boasts a $2.6 billion valuation. Obviously, success from rucaparib or CO-1686 could change that and make Clovis' valuation somewhat reasonable, but at this point in time, I'd suggest keeping your distance from this loftily valued and unproven stock.

Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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