Why bluebird bio Stock Surged 20.7% Higher in January

By Todd Campbell Markets Fool.com

What happened

Continue Reading Below

After updating investors on its wide-ranging gene therapy research program at a key industry conference early in the month,shares ofbluebird bio(NASDAQ: BLUE) surged 20.7% higher in January,according toS&P Global Market Intelligence.

So what

At the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in early January, Bluebird Bio's management outlined how it hopes to transform treating rare disease, including cerebral ALD (CALD), transfusion dependent beta thalassemia (TDT), and sickle cell disease.

Image source: Getty Images.

The company provided an outlook for 2022 that includes a goal of having two gene therapies on the market, two other therapies near commercialization, and four or more research programs in clinical studies.

Continue Reading Below

In 2017, Bluebird Bio's plans include prepping a filing of its TDT therapy, LentiGlobin, for approval in Europe, and developing a pathway to regulatory approval of its CALD therapy, Lenti-D.

The company is also going to continue early stage research into its CAR-T program, including its work on bb2121, a BCMA-targeting therapy that's being developed with Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) for multiple myeloma.

Now what

The potential to significantly reduce, or eliminate, the need for blood transfusions in TDT patients has industry watchers estimating that LentiGlobin could reshape patient treatment. If so, this gene therapy could be a nine-figure (or higher) top-seller. A similar opportunity exists for Lenti-D.

Perhaps most compelling, however, is the potential market opportunity for bb2121. Although a number of new multiple myeloma treatments have been launched over the past few years, the need for new treatment options remains high. Roughly 30,000 people are newly diagnosed with myeloma in the U.S. each year, and sadly, the five-year survival rate is just 48.5%, according to the National Cancer Institute.Clinical trials for bb2121 are early stage studies, so a lot could go wrong from here. But successfully targeting BCMA and improved outcomes without a lot of safety risks could significantly change how doctors treat their patients. If that happens, bb2121 could become a billion-dollar blockbuster someday.

10 stocks we like better than Bluebird Bio
When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Bluebird Bio wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

Click here to learn about these picks!

*Stock Advisor returns as of February 6, 2017

Todd Campbell owns shares of Celgene.His clients may have positions in the companies mentioned.The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Celgene. The Motley Fool recommends Bluebird Bio. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.