Many thanks to BioTech stock journalist axe Adam Feuerstein for participating in our StockTwits Midday Q&A session this past week. Adam is attending the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Chicago this weekend where many publically traded Biotech companies will be making presentations and headlines. In our session, we discussed items of interest ahead of the conference.
What follows is the transcript of Adam’s conversation on the stream:
@StockTwits: Welcome to the Midday Q&A with @adamfeuerstein.
@adamfeuerstein: Great to be here. Thanks for the invite.
@ivanhoff: Do you consider most biotech stocks as trades or as investments and why?
@adamfeuerstein: the vast majority of ASCO11 is a trade. By trade, I mean that ASCO stocks tend to run up into the conference and sell off after. Still, there are meaningful, fundamental reasons to pay attention to the data presented at ASCO.
@chicagosean: Which company are you most excited to hear from at ASCO11?
@adamfeuerstein: I’m most excited about those stocks in which we don’t yet know meaningful data. YM BioSciences ($YMI) and Exelixis ($EXEL) come to mind. This year’s ASCO is incremental in that much of the important clinical data is already known. I bring up $YMI because of it’s JAK inhibitor which has potential to be best in class. Perhaps superior to competing drugs from Incyte Corp ($INCY).
@TomSchiavone: Which stocks have the best potential for upside surprises if good news comes out of the ASCO event?
@adamfeuerstein: $YMI will present a poster on its drug Friday afternoon, so I’d watch that stock for volatility.
@richard9f: Will Vivus Inc ($VVUS) have any potential catalysts from ASCO?
@adamfeuerstein: No, $VVUS is not an ASCO stock. Fat people get cancer but Qnexa doesn’t help there.
@ppearlman: Is the run up in $YMI from April the buy before the news or the more recent pullback a buying opportunity?
@adamfeuerstein: Hard for me to answer, since I’m not a trader. For $YMI, key ASCO data is anemia response. Will the poz data we’ve seen to date hold up with more patients from different hospitals? As traders, you know ASCO stocks have traded up significantly into the conference, so you have to be wary about selling on the news. $ONTY up 100% since early March, $VICL up 95%, $YMI up 50%, $ARIA up 45%, $MDVN up 36%, etc. Historically, what you see in the markets on the Monday of ASCO is a lot of selling, good data or bad. Bad data = more selling.
@chicagosean: Biotech stocks are known for volatility. Which companies do you think offer the most stability, if any?
@adamfeuerstein: Most stable ASCO stocks will be those with broader pipelines, approved drugs, profits, etc. Big cap biotechs, for example. Big Pharma (Roche, $BMY, $PFE) playing a bigger role at ASCO every year. This year continues that trend.
@adamfeuerstein: I have doubts about $VICL and its melanoma drug, now in phase 3 trial. We won’t see that data at ASCO, however. $ONTY is interesting too, in that it won’t have a meaningful presence at ASCO. I should mention $ONTY is a cancer immunotherapy story, so everyone wants to think they’ve found the next Dendreon ($DNDN)
@TomSchiavone: Do you think not showing up or having a limited presence could hurt these companies? Any notable absences?
@adamfeuerstein: Could precipitate a post-ASCO sell off, for sure. Is there any fundamental reason for $ONTY doubling since March?
@dominicrivera: Given the larger company influence you mentioned, which of these small caps is most likely to get bought?
@adamfeuerstein: I’m lousy with takeover predictions. Fortunately, I’m not alone.
@adamfeuerstein: Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) will get a ton of play for its skin cancer drug, presenting new data Sunday afternoon. Same for Roche. Sanofi-Aventis ($SNY) very quiet this year. Not sure about $MRK but I haven’t seen anything significant.
@adamfeuerstein: Once ASCO ends, bios tend to go into the summer slumber and you do see significant selling. That’s often a buying opportunity.
@techinsidr: Hey Adam – any thoughts on CEL-SCI Corp ($CVM)? Got some friends who are convinced it’s a beast.
@adamfeuerstein: My uber-bearish position on$CVM is well known. It’s a beast all right, but for all the wrong reasons.
@adamfeuerstein: Thanks for joining me here. The half hour flies by fast. Need to get back to my ASCO prep. If you want to follow my coverage of ASCO, I will be live-blogging Saturday through Monday. You’ll find me at www.thestreet.com.
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