Why Celldex Therapeutics Shot Up Today

What happened

Celldex Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CLDX) closed up 11.3% on Thursday after reporting fourth-quarter earnings after the bell yesterday.

So what

Celldex doesn't have any drugs on the market bringing in revenue, so the financial results aren't particularly important. For the record, the company only lost $3.8 million in the fourth quarter, but that was largely due to a tax benefit of $19 million that Celldex recorded during the quarter.

The only number investors really need to focus on is how much Celldex has in the bank. It ended the year with $139.4 million, largely fundeding its $19.5 million in operating expenses in the fourth quarter through selling shares to raise $18.4 million.

Celldex also gave updates on its programs, but nothing appeared worthy of a double-digit gain. My best guess is that investors are piling in today ahead of data from the company's METRIC trial testing glembatumumab (glemba) vedotin compared to Xeloda in patients with triple-negative breast cancer.

In November, when Celldex released third-quarter results, the company said it expected data in the second quarter of 2018, but noted that "it could occur earlier or later based on the rate of events in the study." That language was removed from the fourth-quarter release, suggesting the company is confident it'll be able to release data in the second quarter.

Now what

Shares of biotechs often run up in anticipation of binary events as investors try to minimize how long they outlay capital. However, long-term investors can ignore the gyrations and focus on Celldex's potential to get glemba approved, as well as data from other trials testing glemba in combination with its own CDX-301. There also are trials testing varlilumab and CDX-3379 as combination therapies.

If METRIC is positive, Celldex plans to submit a marketing application for the drug in the second half of 2019. Interim data from the varlilumab trial should be available this year -- potentially at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in June.

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Brian Orelli has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Celldex Therapeutics. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.