Why Sangamo Biosciences Inc. Shares Rocketed Higher Today

By Markets Fool.com

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

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What: Sangamo Biosciences shares surged more than 14% higher at mid-day after it reported mostly better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings results and issued 2015 guidance that was above Wall Street forecasts.

Source: Sangamo Biosciences

So what: The clinical stage company reported quarterly loss totaling $0.06 per share, down from $0.13 per share last year, and revenue of $15 million, up from $6.9 million a year ago.

Additionally, the company announced that full year revenue increased from $24.1 million last year to $45.9 million this year and that operating expenses increased from $50.8 million in 2013 to $72.7 million in 2014.

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Since the company doesn't have any approved commercial drugs on the market, the company's revenue is due entirely to collaborations, such as its co-development deals with Biogen Idec and Shire Plc . Biogen is partnered with Sangamo on a gene editing therapy for the treatment of beta-thalassemia, while Shire is collaborating with Sangamo on a treatment for hemophilia.

Overall, the most advanced drugs in Sangamo's pipeline are SB-728 for the treatment of HIV and CERE-110 for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Both of those drugs have mid stage phase 2 clinical trials under way. Other programs include a phase 1/2 trial for its beta-thalassemia treatment and a slate of pre-clinical trials.

Source: Sangamo Biosciences

Sangamo also issued guidance for 2015 that calls for revenue of between $60 and $70 million and operating expenses to total between $100 and $110 million.

Now what: Despite the company's better-than-expected performance, it's still losing money. Since there aren't any phase 3 programs under way, Sangamo is highly speculative investment that will trade based on trial data, including results from the mid stage Alzheimer's study that are expected this year. With cash and investments totaling $226.6 million at year end and guidance that calls for cash and investments to finish 2015 at $180 million, the company appears to be well-funded; however, until we have more mid stage trial success and some final stage studies under way, I'm content to sit on the sidelines for now.

The article Why Sangamo Biosciences Inc. Shares Rocketed Higher Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Todd Campbell has no position in any stocks mentioned. Todd owns E.B. Capital Markets, LLC. E.B. Capital's clients may or may not 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.