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Why CTI Biopharma Corp Is Soaring Today

By Brian Feroldi – Jun 1, 2015 at 1:18PM

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Shares of CTI Biopharma are up big today. Is the news meaningful, or just market noise?

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 CTI BioPharma Corp. (CTIC -2.09%) were up more than 20% today after the company released phase 3 study results at the American Society of Clinical Oncologists 2015 meeting.

So what: CTI Biopharma, along with their partner Baxter International (BAX -0.70%), recently released key data from their PERSIST-1 trial. This trial is in Phase 3 and is examining the companies' drug pacritinib, an oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor, for the treatment of myelofibrosis. Myelofibrosis is an uncommon type of chronic leukemia that interferes with the body's normal production of blood cells, which causes a wide range of health problems.

The trial showed that pacritinib performed quite well when compared to other currently available therapies and resulted in a significantly higher proportion of patients with spleen volume reduction and control of disease-related symptoms. 

Claire Harrison, M.D., one of the principal investigators for PERSIST-1 trial stated: "Based on data showing improvement in bone marrow function, pacritinib may have the potential to modify disease in the sickest patients as monotherapy and warrants further evaluation in combination with other potential disease-modifying agents." 

Now what: CTI stock has put investors on a wild ride since coming public in 1997 and has lost badly to the market over that time period. The company is getting some much deserved love today after releasing positive news, but the company is still losing money each year and remains a high risk stock. The news release today is certainly encouraging, but this investor is going to stay away at least until the company starts to generate a profit.

Brian Feroldi has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Baxter International. 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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