Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. Off to a Good Start in 2015

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Source: Celldex Therapeutics,

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Celldex Therapeutics got off to a good start in 2015. The biopharmaceutical company announced its first-quarter results before the market opened on Wednesday, with shares up 5% in early trading. Here are the highlights from Celldex's results.

By the numbers
Celldex remains a clinical-stage development biopharmaceutical company, so no one expected significant revenue. However, the company generated$0.5 million of revenue in the first quarter, up from$0.4 million reported in the first quarter of 2014.

While the bottom line still showed a net loss of$30.2 million, or $0.33 per share, for the first quarter, that was better than expected. The consensus analyst estimate called for a net loss of $0.36 per share. The first-quarter net loss matched the $0.33 per share loss from the same quarter in the prior year. Celldex also achieved sequential improvement from the $0.35 per share loss reported in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Research and development spending decreased to $25.1 million in the first quarter of 2015 from$27.1 million in the first quarter of 2014. However, general and administrative expenses rose to$6.1 million from$4.6 million in the same period of the prior year.

The most important financial measure for Celldex continues to be its cash position. Celldex reported cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities as of March 31, 2015 totaled$359.8 million. The company expects that sum will cover costs through 2017, although results from its Rintega clinical trials could impact the rate of cash burn.

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Behind the numbers
Celldex's small amount of revenue stemmed primarily from its clinical collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb . The two companies formed an alliance in May 2014 to test Bristol's nivolumab with Celldex'svarlilumab in treating several types of cancer.Bristol and Celldex also announced a deal a few weeks ago to studyvarlilumab with Bristol's Yervoy as a potential treatment formetastatic melanoma.

R&D expenses fell mainly because of aone-time $2.5 milestone payment with the start of the METRIC clinical study ofantibody-drug conjugate glembatumumab vedotin, also known as glemba. Lower costs associated with the ACT IV study of Rintega also helped reduce overall R&D expenses.The bump in G&A costs nearly offset those lower R&D expenses. As Celldex gets ready for anticipated commercial launches of Rintega and glemba, the company is spending more on staff and planning.

Running out of cash doesn't appear to be a problem for Celldex at this point. The latest cash position reflects a hefty jump from last quarter thanks to$188.8 million brought in through a secondary share offering. Celldex's cash burn in the first quarter was $30 million. If that rate doesn't change too dramatically, the company should be in good shape for quite a while.

Looking ahead
There are two potential catalysts coming up for Celldex that investors will want to watch closely. First, the company presents at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, or ASCO, annual meeting in late May. Updated data from theReACT study of Rintega will be presented along with data from the METRIC study of glemba. Second, Celldex expects interim analysis data from the ACT IV study of Rintega within the next few months.

Celldex shares are up more than 35% so far this year. However, the stock has fallen more than 15% in recent weeks before regaining momentum following the latest earnings announcement. It's likely that volatility will remain a risk in the short term.

The article Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. Off to a Good Start in 2015 originally appeared on Fool.com.

Keith Speights has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Celldex 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.