Signup for our free newsletter:

Watch These Going into June 2010 ASCO

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted May 3, 2010

If you thought recent 500% gains on Dendreon (DNDN) were impressive, you haven’t seen anything. We’re now talking about the possibility of coming close to… if not exceeding those gains this June 4-8, 2010 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference.

Here are some of the companies that Options Trading Pit, for one, is looking to trade over the next few weeks. Keep in mind that some will be played with stock only.

This is a list of stocks that should get considerable coverage at the conference.

Provectus (PVCT.OB)

Provectus (in the same industry as Dendreon) is focused on the development of cancer and psoriasis treatment based on the Rose Bengal compound. It’s looking strong ahead of key clinical trials and ahead of the ASCO conference.

Here’s what’s really exciting. According to the company, “Rose Bengal is a red dye that was previously used to test for corneal scratches because it is preferentially absorbed by damaged cells. Provectus found that a highly specialized version of this dye is also absorbed in irregular or damaged cancerous cells.”

“As the cancerous cells continue to take in more and more PV-10, they begin to rupture and eventually go into cell necrosis (death). The entire process also occurs without any radiation, which gives the treatment a substantial edge over existing treatments with side-effects.”

Celldex Therapeutics (CLDX)

Partnered with Pfizer, Celldex’s CDX-110 was developed for glioblastoma, a common and aggressive form of brain cancer. Shares of this stock are already running nicely ahead of the ASCO meeting.

Delcath (DCTH)

Investors will get a first look at Phase III results at the ASCO meeting. This could be a very big catalyst for DCTH shares.

Here’s more on the company from Adam Sharp:

The company announced positive clinical data for their proprietary liver cancer treatment system, The Delcath Percutaneous Hepatic Perfusion (PHP) device.

The PHP system works by first isolating the patient’s liver from the rest of the circulatory system. This is accomplished using catheters and balloons, which are inserted via small incisions in the patient’s neck and legs. Highly-concentrated doses of chemotherapy drugs are then delivered directly to the diseased organ.

After treatment, the blood is filtered and cleansed of potentially toxic drugs and returned to circulation.

The system – which is unique as far as I know – allows doctors to target the liver with 10x higher doses of chemotherapy than are normally feasible. Since the drugs are targeted directly at the tumors, then filtered out of the bloodstream after treatment, DCTH thinks they can significantly increase dosage without increasing toxicity. It could prove to be an important life-extending development for patients who currently have few treatment options.

The trial data announced this afternoon comes from Delcath’s phase III clinical trial, which enrolled patients who have melanoma that has spread to the liver.

Patients who received treatment from the Delcath system had more than a 50% reduction in a primary study goal, “time to tumor reduction or death”. The results exceeded primary endpoint expectations and were statistically significant. In FDA-speak, that’s a good news for patients and investors.

Here’s an excerpt from the company’s press release:

Delcath Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: DCTH), a development stage, oncology-focused, specialty pharmaceutical and medical device company, announced that its Phase III National Cancer Institute (NCI)-led multi-center clinical trial has successfully met the study’s primary endpoint of extended hepatic progression-free survival (hPFS) in patients with melanoma metastases to the liver based on an independently corroborated intent-to-treat analysis.

Comparing treatment with the Delcath PHP System with melphalan to Best Alternative Care (BAC), based on independent core lab review of patient scans, the statistical analysis revealed that the PHP patients had a statistically significant longer median hPFS of 214 days compared to 70 days in the BAC arm.

Reuters reports that the market for Delcath’s system to treat melanoma which has spread to the liver could be $745 million in the U.S. alone. Delcath is also proceeding with phase II clinical trials on primary liver cancers at the National Cancer Institute. The company’s current market cap was around $395m.

Full Trial Data To Be Announced June 5th

While I’m bullish on Delcath (disclosure: I own the stock), it’s important to note that the full details of this trial won’t be available until June 5th, when the lead researcher presents at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) 2010 Annual Meeting.

That’s when we’ll learn about overall survival of patients, along with other important study details. So even though Delcath’s system met the primary endpoint, as they announced tonight, we don’t know exactly how long (or if) it increased overall survival among patients. The data looks good so far, but I prefer to stay wary and be ready for a surprise.

Pharmacyclics (PCYC) – also a possible takeover target, we believe

We’re looking for the company to present data at ASCO to build support for it’s Btk inhibitor PCI-32765 monotherapy. Roth Capital recently raised its price target on the stock from $8 to $11.

Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR)

We’re looking for the company to update its Phase II study of NKTR-102 in women with platinum-resistant / refractory ovarian cancer. The company reportedly had good results from this study in March.

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (KERX)

We’re looking for the company to present results of a Phase II study of perifosine in combination with capecitabine as compared to a placebo plus capecitabine in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

Stay tuned for buy specifics from the same guys that called Dendreon’s upside, Options Trading Pit.