It has been a rough couple of days for the markets as huge uncertainty in Europe and a stalling US recovery send shockwaves through the investing world, but there are still a few companies out there making news that are worth keeping an eye on. The broad downturn could also open up some solid buying opportunities that have the potential to turn into quick rebound stories once the markets recover.
Here's a little bit of the good, the bad and the ugly from the week so far, and some possible good deals there for the grabbing...
Prolor Biotech (PBTH): Prolor Biotech (PBTH) opened the week as a stock on the move and continued that pattern on Tuesday with an early seven percent price rise on heavier-than-usual volume sparked by a Monday news report announcing positive top-line results from a Phase II four-month treatment extension study of hGH-CTP growth hormone deficient adults.
The data compiled from this study, according to Monday's release, "reaffirms the company's prior Phase II findings showing that a single weekly injection of hGH-CTP has the potential to replace seven consecutive daily injections of currently marketed human growth hormone (hGH), and further validates the dosing regimen for the company's planned Phase III trial."
Prolor has also recently initiated a Phase II trial in Europe testing hGH-CTP in pediatric applications, an event that confirms the thus far stellar record of the treatment since European regulators have stringent standards governing the initiatioin of clinical trials in children. Had the regulators not been overwhelmingly convinced that the treatment worked, then the green light would most likely not have been given to start testing in children.
Monday's encouraging data announcement adds to the growing list of positive developments for Prolor during the early portions of 2012 and illustrates the potential of hGH-CTP to replace a once-daily regimen of hormone injections for hormone-deficient patients with a once-weekly injection instead.
Additionally, Prolor owns world wide rights to the Carboxyl Terminal Peptide technology that allows for a once-weekly injection to replace once-daily injections in numerous protein therapies - aside for four fertility-related licenses to the technology that Merck (MRK) has successfully implemented in the European market - and the company is being staged to bring similar products to market in the treatment of Type II diabetes and obesity.
The last of those treatments, for the indication of obesity, could be an especially intriguing story if setbacks continue with Orexigen (OREX) and Vivus (VVUS), both of whom are looking to alleviate cardiovascular concerns relating to their repsective obesity treatments.
Safety concerns surrounding Arena's (ARNA) Lorcaserin treatment also have placed doubts on that company's chances with the FDA later this year, opening the door for Prolor to make headway in advancing its own treatment, which is a once-weekly version of Novo Nordisk's (NVO) one-daily protein injection.
Any continued setbacks by these companies could spell opportunity for Prolor, which also has upcoming catalysts pending regarding hGH-CTP. The initiation of a Phase III trial in adults is on the slate following multiple rounds of successful earlier studies and interim data from the pediatric trial are also on the horizon.
Both could provide additional catalysts to spark new investor interest.
Still worth keeping an eye on.
Dendreon Corporation (DNDN): Dendreon was a stock to watch this week based on the company's pending earnings announcement, but a huge post-earnings sell-off has this one all over the headlines again.
What's somewhat ironic about the 20% drop experienced by DNDN shares is that they already dropped once this year based on the same slim growth projections announced by the company this week that sparked the latest drop.
That would have one believe that either the traders are playing their games or that investors were hoping for a surprise on either the earnings front or in terms of guidance. Either way, DNDN may again be trading at near the lower end of its trading range, which has over the past few quarters proven to be below the nine dollar mark.
Should the headlines or guidance turn positive, then this one could rebound quick to levels seen as recently as last week when shares were happily settled at over eleven bucks.
TrovaGene Inc (TROV): Shares of TrovaGene Inc have been on the move early this week based on the addition of some key additions to the company's management team and the progress of the company's developmental pipeline of diagnostic tests intended to screen for cancer and infectious diseases.
An announcement last week regarding the development of a diagnostic test to determine the presence of high risk Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) subtypes from urine specimens sparked the most recent rally, and heavy volume has enabled the stock to reach a new 52-week high.
Demonstrating significant strength during a broad market downturn, TROV is one to keep an eye on right now.
Agenus Inc (AGEN): AGEN shares dropped more than ten percent into the broad sell-off on Tuesday, with no news released to specifically support the bear argument. Agenus had been moving big earlier this year after an expanded agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) sparked some buyout rumors, but when no solid news followed up the rumors, shares started to decline.
A large-scale drop in the markets may have given edgy investors the opportunity to jump ship for the time being and await another buying opportunity.
Still one to watch for the potential of the vaccine adjuvant QS-21, the target of GSK's licensing deal, and the cancer immunotherapy treatment Prophage, but it may be best waiting for a bottom before jumping back in.
Disclosure: Long PBTH.
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