Friday, December 19, 2014

Agenus Call Luck, Alexion analysis

I had a bit of luck with my Agenus positive call earlier this week, but first a link to my article Seeking Alpha published yesterday:

Alexion's Rare Disease Model Analyzed

My article on Agenus might seem prescient:

Agenus: Herpes Competition And Cancer Checkpoint Prospects

You might even think my articles can move a small-cap stock. As I write Agenus is at $4.04 per share. I was near $3.12 when my article came out on the 11th around noon.

In fact Agenus and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK's) announced good data on GSK's shingles vaccine, on the 18th. Agenus contributed an adjuvant to the vaccine (which makes it work better), and is entitled to a milestone payment (amount not stated) and royalties when the vaccine is commercialized. Keep in mind that there is not yet regulatory approval and royalties for an adjuvant are not in the same magnitude as if GSK had licensed the entire vaccine from Agenus.

Still, this is Agenus's second time to have approvable results in a partnership with its QS-21 Stimulon. The other is also with GSK, for malaria.

Some of the vaccines using IP licensed from Agenus have failed. As can be expected, the price of Agenus stock goes down when a failure is announced, and up when good trial results come in. Given that today's vaccines are for diseases that are typically hard to vaccinate for (else they would have had working vaccines by the 1960's), any company working on a variety of vaccines is going to have some failures. Any success is a breakthrough.

The fact that Agenus now has 2 working vaccines provides proof of concept. Read my article to see just how broad Agenus's platform is.

I own shares of Agenus but not of GSK, though I think GSK is a good buy right now and reserve the right to buy it at any time.

On the downside Cyclacel (CYCC) announced its AML (acute myeloid leukemia) trial is unlikely to achieve statistically significant results. Nevertheless the trial will continue as there is little hope for these patients, Cyclacel's oral therapy is easy to administer and tolerate, and there is a small chance that while Sapacitabine may be no better than Dacogen in efficacy, patients may prefer it because it can be taken at home. I lost money on CYCC, but am holding onto my shares because Cyclacel also has a shot at the easier-to-treat disease myelodysplastic syndrome.

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