What's Happening: Exelixis's (NASDAQ:EXEL) shares are surging higher by more than 13% ahead of the company's scheduled presentation at the Leerink Swann Global Healthcare Conference on Wednesday February 11th, at 11:30 am.
Why It's Happening: Exelixis suffered a big setback last year when its promising cancer-fighting compound Cometriq failed during an important phase 3 trial evaluating its use as a prostate cancer treatment.
In the wake of that disappointment, investors are wondering whether or not Exelixis will be able to monetize Cometriq in other indications. For example, phase 3 study results for Cometriq in kidney cancer are expected to be reported sometime in the second quarter of 2015.
Investors are also waiting to see if Exelixis and its co-development partner Roche Holdings (NASDAQOTH:RHHBY) can succeed in winning over regulators with the drug cobimetinib as a therapy for metastatic melanoma. In December, Roche announced that using cobimetinib alongside Roche's Zelboraf reduced the risk of disease progression and death, and as a result, Roche is pursuing FDA approval of cobimetinib. If cobimetinib nets an FDA go-ahead, Exelixis will receive 50% of the profits on the first $200 million in sales, and then a lower percentage that scales down to 30% on sales above $400 million.
Although there isn't any specific news today, it's likely that investors are anticipating that Exelixis will -- at a minimum -- provide additional clarity into its pipeline program and the timing of various catalysts at the conference tomorrow.
Todd Campbell owns shares of Exelixis. Todd owns E.B. Capital Markets, LLC. E.B. Capital's clients may or may not have positions in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Exelixis. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.