The ASCO abstracts are coming! The ASCO abstracts are coming!

The biotech investors' Christmas in May is once again upon us. Throw on your pajamas and head here today at 6 p.m. Eastern, where investors and researchers alike will be able to find the synopsis of what will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting next month.

Until we get to unwrap the presents, here's a look at five companies that might have interesting data.

SUCEEDed, but by how much?
Ariad Pharmaceuticals
(Nasdaq: ARIA) and development partner Merck (NYSE: MRK) already announced the successful completion of SUCEED, a clinical trial testing ridaforolimus in patients with sarcoma. But the presentation at ASCO will provide further details into the success of the trial.

Look for information about the balancing of the treatment arms since the placebo group proceeded faster than expected and about further details on the progression-free survival data.

Data galore
YM BioSciences
(AMEX: YMI) will have data on two oncology drugs at ASCO. Its late-stage compound, nimotuzumab, is being tested in a variety of cancer types. At ASCO, expect to hear about a phase 3 trial in glioblastoma and a small trial testing the drug against glioma in children.

YM BioSciences will also have data on its earlier stage compound, CYT387, in myelofibrosis.

Which is more likely to move the stock price? I'd guess the nimotuzumab data, but we'll have to wait for the abstracts to find out.

Orphan indication a starting point
(Nasdaq: EXEL) is on the verge of phase 3 data for cabozantinib in medullary thyroid cancer, but the data won't be ready for ASCO. Not that investors should care all that much anyway. Medullary thyroid cancer isn't that common, and while it'll get cabozantinib on the market, it isn't going to get the drug to blockbuster status.

Ovarian and prostate cancer, on the other hand, could easily propel cabozantinib toward the $1 billion mark and beyond. Exelixis will have data in both cancer types at the meeting.

Right drug, wrong indications
Investors will see data on Curis' (Nasdaq: CRIS) vismodegib in advanced gastric and gastroesophageal junction carcinoma at ASCO. But highly anticipated data in advanced basal cell carcinoma patients won't be there. That data is being presented at Congress of the European Association of Dermato-Oncology a few weeks after ASCO. While expanding into other indications never hurts, the basal cell carcinoma data is most important because the data could support a marketing application for the drug later this year.

A long time coming
We'll have to wait and see what Vical (Nasdaq: VICL) has to offer at ASCO; its presentation title, "Association of response and survival in Allovectin melanoma trials," isn't all that descriptive. But investors shouldn't hold out hope for new data. The final readout for the phase 3 trial of Allovectin isn't expected until the second half of this year.

Vical presented phase 2 data for Allovectin at ASCO 2000, some 11 years ago. If that isn't a sign about the slow nature of drug development, I don't know what is.

A couple words of warning
"Buy the abstract, sell the presentation" is a pretty common theme for ASCO. Some biotech's stock prices run up into ASCO and then see a sell off after the presentations. It's less of an issue for larger companies like Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Roche that also present at the meeting.

Also keep in mind that abstracts don't contain the most current information. They had to be submitted by Feb. 2 -- or April 1 for late-breaking abstracts -- but the presentations will contain the current data. Occasionally that means the abstract is nothing more than a placeholder without much data in it, and other times it means the updated data changes for better or worse.

What abstracts are you looking forward to this evening? Let us know in the comment box below.

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