Seattle Genetics: Exciting Trials in Oncology

10/10/2019 5:00 am EST

Focus: HEALTHCARE

Michael Cintolo

Vice President of Investments and Chief Analyst, Cabot Heritage Corporation

Every year in the U.S., some 1.7 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and more than a third of those will die from the disease, observes leading growth stock expert Mike Cintolo, editor of Cabot Top Ten Trader.

Cancer remains one of our biggest challenges, but there are thousands of companies fighting the good fight, and some are making excellent headway.

Seattle Genetics (SGEN) is one of them, and its shares have recently seen a nice boost on exciting drug trial results for the firm’s bladder cancer treatment.

The company has been testing a combination of its experimental drug, dubbed enfortumab vedotin, and an immuno-oncology drug called Keytruda from Merck (MRK), used to treat advanced/metastatic urothelial cancer.

The good news is that it found that an astonishing 71% of patients responded well to the drug, considerably more than the 41% of patients who only took chemotherapy drugs. The results were fast too­ — researchers said 91% showed improvement at the first clinical assessment after taking the combined drug.

And this data was preceded by the FDA giving priority review of the biologics license application for the drug combination, with a decision expected by mid March of next year.

At this point, the attraction to the stock is based on expectation of ultimate drug approval and market acceptance, as well as the company’s other therapeutics, including Advetris to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma, tucatinib for metastatic breast cancer, and tisotumab vedotin for metastatic cervical cancer, which are on track to come to the market sooner.

But predictions for profit in 2021 look pretty good, based on 25%-ish annual revenue growth between now and then. SGEN peaked with everything else in September of last year, crashed in the fourth quarter, then recovered early this year.

But that recovery led to another, tighter consolidation ($62 to $80 or so), with numerous sharp ups and downs during that time. But now SGEN looks ready to go if the market will allow it, with the stock catapulting to new highs on excellent volume early last week before pulling back calmly. We’re OK nibbling here or on dips.

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