Investing in biopharmaceutical companies -- especially developmental-stage ones -- involves long waits punctuated only by quarterly reports, because clinical studies take months or even years. On Thursday, drug developer Seattle Genetics
At this stage of Seattle Genetics' life as a public company, its results are only important insofar as they ensure that it has enough resources to fund its drug pipeline. Since striking its development deal last month with Genentech
Not including the up-front cash from the Genentech collaboration, Seattle Genetics' balance sheet is flush with $87 million in cash and equivalents. Its guidance is for $80 million to $90 million in incoming cash for the year, based on the up-front payment and other milestones, and it expects to spend $55 million to $65 million as it initiates new clinical trials and ramps up its manufacturing. Subtracting items like non-cash stock-option charges, Seattle Genetics expects to finish the year with more than $120 million in cash and equivalents, which should be more than enough to last the next two years.
Seattle Genetics has a full plate for the year. Data from a phase 2 study for cancer compound SGN-40 as a treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma may be announced at a medical conference like the one at the American Society of Hematology in December; it will begin multiple combination trials for SGN-33, an antibody that targets tumors; and three studies of SGN-30 combined with chemotherapy agents will begin, as well.
Since the Genentech deal, shares of Seattle Genetics have risen more than 70%. Valuing biotech companies is always a very subjective art, but with an enterprise value of $340 million (counting the $120 million in cash that will be on the balance sheet by the end of the year), Seattle Genetics is worth a look for those investors who are less averse to risk.
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