What: After reporting third quarter financials and updating investors on its clinical stage drug pipeline, shares in Bellicum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BLCM) shot 19% higher at one point earlier today.
So what: The clinical stage developer of immunotherapies for cancer and orphan blood diseases, including beta thalassemia major, reported that losses totaled $13.4 million in Q3.
Driving the company's loss was an increase in both R&D and general and administrative expenses. In the quarter, spending on R&D grew to $9.8 million from $2.3 million and spending on G&A increased to $3.9 million from $1.3 million a year ago.
Although losses are increasing, investors are focusing more on Bellicum's drug pipeline progress, and fortunately, there was plenty of good news on that front.
Specifically, the company reports that four children with beta thalassemia receiving hematopoietic stem cell transplant and Bellicum's BPX-501 have become transfusion independent.
Additionally, Bellicum announced progress on its engineered T-cell research programs, including BPX-601, which is slated to begin human clinical trials in pancreatic cancer soon.
Now what: The potential to craft next-generation therapies that empower the immune system to battle back against cancer and other rare blood disorders is big, but investors should bear in mind that Bellicum is in the early stages of research and that a lot can (and often does) go wrong in clinical trials.
Couple the young nature of Bellicum's drug pipeline with costs that are likely to head considerably higher as more drug candidates begin human studies and you've got a high risk, high reward stock that's best suited only for the most risk tolerant of investors. For that reason, I'm sitting on the sidelines on this one until we get more advanced trial data and insight into how much the company's cash burn will increase in the future.
Todd Campbell has no position in any stocks mentioned. Todd owns E.B. Capital Markets, LLC. E.B. Capital's clients may have positions in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.