Image Source: Juno Therapeutics

Can a company report its quarterly financial results and most of the numbers not be all that important? Absolutely -- if that company is a development-stage biotech. Juno Therapeutics (NASDAQ:JUNO) announced its third-quarter results after the market closed on Tuesday. And because Juno doesn't have a product on the market yet, investors didn't fret much about the company's revenue or earnings. Here are those results, though, and, more importantly, the information investors do care about with regards to Juno. 

Juno results: The raw numbers

Metrics

Q3 2015 Actuals

Q3 2014 Actuals

%Change (YOY)

Sales

$1.6 million

 --

N/A

Net Gain Attributable to Common Shareholders

($23.2 million)

($71.9 million)

67.7%

Net Gain Per Share

($0.26)

($10.50)

97.6%

Data Source: Juno Therapeutics

Juno's cash position is one key financial figure that does matter to investors. At the end of the third quarter, the biotech had cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities totaling $1.27 billion. That's a big jump from the $313.4 million on hand on June 30.

Investors also focus intensely on cash burn rates with development-stage biotechs. Juno reported cash burn of $45.7 million in the third quarter. Of that, $14.2 million stemmed from the company's build-out of a manufacturing facility. The remainder of the cash burn related to spending on growing the business, including hiring new staff.

What really happened with Juno this quarter?
The big news for Juno during the third quarter revolved around Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG). The much-larger biotech forged a 10-year collaboration agreement with Juno focusing on T cell therapies. As part of the $1 billion deal, Celgene acquired 9.1 million shares of Juno and gained commercialization rights for the T cell programs outside of North America. With the agreement, Juno landed a major partner and dramatically improved its cash position.

Juno also made progress on the clinical front. Highlights from the third quarter include:

  • Started a phase 2 study for experimental drug JCAR015, which targets treatment of adult patients with relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
  • Began a phase 1 study for JCAR017 in treating relapsed/refractory B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Won clearance from the FDA for an Investigational New Drug application for a potential treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer. 

What management had to say
CEO Hans Bishop praised his company's accomplishments during the third quarter. "We continue to make progress in the clinic and building our capabilities," he said. "We began a trial that we expect will support registration of JCAR015 in adult ALL. We started a multi-center Phase I trial for JCAR017 in adult NHL. We completed engineering runs at our manufacturing facility in Bothell. We also continued building out our internal research organization and integrated our two acquisitions." 

Looking forward
Investors will definitely want to keep tabs on Juno's cash burn in the months ahead. The company has previously stated that it expects to run through between $125 million and $150 million during 2015. In its third-quarter announcement, Juno indicated that the cash burn would likely be in the high end of that range.

Celgene's relationship with Juno gives the company a security blanket that most small biotechs don't have. The cash infusion from Celgene puts Juno in good shape to finish its development of JCAR015. And, assuming the drug ultimately gains regulatory approval, having one of the biggest biotechs as a sales partner should be very beneficial over the long run. 

 

Keith Speights owns shares of Celgene. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Celgene. The Motley Fool recommends Juno Therapeutics. 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.