At the conclusion of each week, VFC's Stock House examines the stocks and stories that made news through various sectors during previous trading week, but may also make headlines or influence trends during the upcoming week as well.
This week, with a full week of 2012 trading now in the bag, we'll take a look at a few stocks that have already made some noise and are possibly setting up for a strong year ahead. Here's just a few of the stories to watch...
BDSI: A few months ago BioDelivery Sciences (BDSI) announced that the primary endpoint of its Phase III trial for BEMA Buprenorphine was missed, although company CEO Mark Sirgo also implied that some results were encouraging enough that additional trials were warranted, should the necessary financing or partnership be put into place.
At the time, shares of BDSI followed a trend that saw the stock sink to below a dollar on the news.
This week, however, shares of BioDelivery rebounded by well over 100% when Pennsylvania's Endo Pharmaceuticals (ENDP) came on board as a partner in a worldwide license and development agreement for BEMA Bup that could be worth a total of $180 million to BioDelivery, should certain milestones be met.
Included in that $180 million is an upfront payment of $30 million.
Endo already has a strong presence in the pain management market and its support for the continued Phase III development of BEMA Bup offers a new wave of credibility and validation for the BEMA pipeline and makes BDSI a stock to watch for the duration of 2012.
The company also received a boost from William Blair's initiated coverage of BDSI with a tag of "outperform."
SIGA: Siga Technologies (SIGA) received a temporary boost in December from below the two dollar mark when it became apparent that the company's contract award from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services would not be derailed, even as congressional questions and potential conflicts-of-interest cast a dark shadow around the award for a time.
The temporary boost seen last month may look quite a bit more permanent now, though, after a week that saw SIGA shares rapidly approach the three dollar mark on increasing volume while evidence that insiders are continuing to pick up shares makes rounds in the headlines.
It was a rough year in 2011 for this company as the public congressional attention combined with developments from an ongoing lawsuit initiated by rival PharmAthene (PIP) to allow the shorts to have a field day with the SIGA stock.
If the first trading week of the new year is an indication, however, SIGA could be in for a continued rebound, especially if the confidence displayed by the insiders with their open market buys continues.
Already those shares picked up at sub-$2 are coming back to pay off quickly, and this will be a company and a stock to watch in the months ahead.
GLTC: GelTech Solutions (OTCBB: GLTC) started to make some noise late last year as its novel water-enhancing firefighting product, FireIce, began receiving key regulatory approvals around the globe to be used in large-scale firefighting efforts. A new website launched in preparation for the opening of 2012 and the appointment of Michael Becker, CPA, as a GelTech director who will be appointed to the company's Audit Committee could be signs that the groundwork for more significant news is now in place.
Although having retreated back to fifty cents, GLTC shares touched nearly eighty cents within the past thirty days and have the potential to move even higher as the company unravels its plans for significant growth through the coming months. With FireIce already certified with a 'Qualified Product' listing from the U.S. Forest Service, the pieces are in place for distribution on a global scale.
This will be a story to watch for 2012, as FireIce could revolutionize firefighting as we now know it.
DNDN: Shares of Dendreon (DNDN) tore through the twelve dollar mark last week on news that Provenge sales heavily rebounded through the fourth quarter of last year and that conditions of reimbursement may no longer be a concern for prescribing physicians moving forward.
Lackluster momentum for sales of Provenge last summer caused a sector-wide decline - and an outright collapse of the DNDN share price - in August, which led the company to undertake some major cost-cutting and restructuring measures, but 2012 could be a whole new ballgame for the rebounding Dendreon.
Dendreon reported revenue of over eighty million dollars for the quarter, a full 25% increase over the previous quarter, with full year revenue of nearly $230 million. Although still far from the $350-500 million in total sales for 2011 that was originally predicted by the company, the $230 million number indicates that Provenge might not be in the dire straits that many reported during the closing months of 2011 - when the shorts that rode the stock down from its highs were undoubtedly trying to cover.
Following an extremely upbeat opening week for Dendreon and its investors, continue to monitor this story throughout the new year. With volume through the roof, and steady price gains realized, Dendreon is proving that it is still, after all, the company that ushered in the new generation of cancer treatment.
HGSI: Human Genome Sciences (HGSI), who partnered with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to bring the first FDA approved lupus drug to market in over fifty years in Benlysta, has also started the new year on a strong note after seeing its share price get cut in half when buyout rumors that circulated during 2011's closing months failed to pan out.
Shorts took control and HGSI even dipped below seven bucks at one point.
Being the perennial takeover target, however, HGSI is again the subject of numerous Internet rumors and any increased sales momentum that coincides with those rumors could quickly put company shares at the north side of ten bucks again.
This is another one that was heavily shorted to close out 2011, so the large spike in volume could be just as much a round of short covering as anything else.
As always, don't let HGSI slip too far from the radar.
AMPE: Heavy short interest and anonymous Internet attacks had shares of Ampio Pharmaceuticals (AMPE) slamming southward during the closing weeks of 2011, after having touched highs of nearly ten dollars in the previous months.
It's Ampio's pipeline that does the talking, however, and with multiple catalysts due in 2012, AMPE could very easily and quickly rebound to previously-traded levels, should the pending developments turn out as positive as the developments of 2011 have.
As the company gears up for another potential milestone year, an investigative report hit the wires last week revealing that the true motives behind the anonymous Internet attacks against Ampio may have been hedge fund related, and nothing more.
Regardless of the controversy, this company's pipeline of already approved products being repositioned to treat new indications may be ready to start making a splash in some very lucrative markets as early as this year.
Stay tuned to this one.
PBTH: Prolor Biotech (PBTH) was another nice runner during the opening week of 2012, closing Friday at $5.15 after closing 2011 at $4.27.
Prolor possesses world wide rights to the naturally-occurring Carboxyl Terminal Peptide (CTP), which - when attached to already-existing therapeutic proteins - stabilizes the proteins in the bloodstream, slows the process by which the protein is removed from the body, and creates an extended life span for a therapeutic treatment without adding toxicity or sacrificing the desired activity.
2012 is set to become a milestone year for the company as its lead product candidate, hGH-CTP is slated for a Phase III trial to treat hGH deficient adults, while a Phase II for the same indication in children is also planned.
Holding a technology that has already been validated on the European market by Merck (MRK), Prolor looks to be gaining investor attention and volume momentum that could continue into the next trading week, if not for the duration of 2012.
JAZZ: All that Jazz is moving to Ireland. Shares of Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ), already a high-flyer in 2011, started off the new year on the same note with an 10% rally on Friday that left shares at over forty five dollars, well more than double the 52-week low and more than quadruple the lows of 2010.
Jazz, which will merge with Ireland's Azur Pharma this month, provided robust guidance for 2012 with expected revenues of $465 million to $490 million. That would place earnings at $2.62 to $2.88 per share, without taking the merger into consideration.
NFLX: The news was all bad towards the end of last year for Netflix (NFLX) when some mid-year missteps caused a calamity for company shares, but a 20%-plus rise in share price to open January - culminated by an 8% rise on Friday - is a demonstration that few believe the company is done.
Volume is up, it looks like the shorts are covering, and the company that was battered in the headlines for months is now being compared to Amazon (AMZN) by some media outlets?
How quickly people forget. Or maybe it's an example of how much influence the big funds have over the media coverage.
Netflix could turn into a nice 'Rebound Player of the Year' candidate.
SIRI: Yet another high-flyer during the new year's opening week. After dipping to below a buck fifty before some buyout hype had the stock on the rebound, shares of SiriusXM (SIRI) are once again back to the two dollar mark after the company closed 2011 with just about 22 million subscribers.
With buyout speculation likely to go nowhere, since many believe that Liberty Media Corporation (LCAPA, LCAPB, LSTZA, LSTZB) will eventually look to fully take control of SIRI, company shares might have found a home at the north side of two bucks.
A solid story to watch this week, and for the course of 2012.
LPTN: Shares of Lpath, Inc. (OTCBB: LPTN) may have found a solidified home at over the dollar mark during 2012's opening week, marking a more than 20% price increase in just a few weeks.
Lpath has been gaining attention for its novel technology - based on the targeting of bioactive lipids to prevent the spreading and growth of various conditions - and its high profile partnership with Pfizer (PFE).
This is one to watch during the coming week, for signs of stability, but also because its sure be a much talked about perennial buyout candidate for 2012.
ACTC: Shares of Advanced Cell Technology (OTCBB: ACTC) have also rebounded in the early-going of 2012, closing at twelve cents on Friday after a near ten percent price spike on heavy volume.
The full potential of ACT as the arguable leader in the future of stem cell treatment might yet to be tapped, and 2012 could turn into another milestone year for the company as developments from the ongoing trials testing the company's stem cell based treatments in conditions of severe blindness hit the wires.
The new year is underway...happy trading, and enjoy the new and exciting stories.
Disclosure: Long ACTC, BDSI, SIGA, DNDN, AMPE.