What: bluebird bio (BLUE 0.54%) put its investors on yet another wild ride on Tuesday. The company's stock was a basket case all day long as investors awaited its presentation to begin at the ongoing JP Morgan Healthcare conference. Shares ultimately ended the day trading more than 11% higher.
So what: bluebird bio's shares plunged on Monday after investors got their first look at the company's presentation slides and didn't like what they saw. Traders sold off shares on the news that it would not be releasing updated clinical data on LentiGlobin BB305 until the next American Society of Hematology meeting in November. Investors had grown accustomed to seeing fresh data in June so the extended waiting period caused many to flee.
During its question-and-answer session with analysts, CEO Nick Leschly was asked about the rationale behind pulling back on its clinical-data reporting schedule. Leschly explained that its LentiGlobin trials have moved beyond the "proof of concept" phase and now they key clinical questions revolve around the therapy's durability. Judging the durability of LentiGlobin requires much more time to gather the clinical data, so the company felt that it didn't make sense to release partial data in June.
Now what: This week's craziness in bluebird bio's share price has also hit competitor Bellicum Pharmaceuticals (BLCM 6.52%) stock just as hard. Bellicum Pharmaceuticals BXP-501 product candidate is also being researched as a treatment for beta-thalessmia, and the market has been trading both stocks in lockstep with each other this week.
With both bluebird bio and Bellicum Pharmaceuticals firmly in the clinical stage, their stock prices are likely to remain extremely volatile. Investors in either company should continue to focus on their long-term potential and be willing to stomach any volatility the market may throw at them.