Biotech Stocks Are Red Hot In 2021
Finding hot industries is always a favored research topic whether you’re trading penny stocks or higher-priced names. Right now, a few of the hottest to watch this year are biotechnology and healthcare.
While you might think that coronavirus vaccine stocks take the cake when it comes to these sectors, other trends have rapidly emerged and deserve some extra attention right now.
In particular, new advancements in oncology treatment and cancer research have taken the spotlight away from 2020’s COVID trend. While the likes of Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX), Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA), and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) remain topics of discussion, they aren’t commanding all headlines all the time like we saw last year. In fact, some of the better-known vaccine companies like BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) are spreading their wings in 2021.
New Biotech Deals Put Bright Spotlight On Stocks
This quarter, the company acquired a treatment platform and manufacturing facility from Gilead’s (NASDAQ: GILD) Kite subsidiary. Specifically, BioNTech procured Kite’s neoantigen TCR cell therapy R&D platform along with its Maryland-based manufacturing facility.
“The development of individualized cancer therapies is at the core of our work at BioNTech. The acquisition of the Kite facility and its individualized TCR platform allows us to accelerate the clinical development of our cell therapies in the U.S. and advance at the forefront of individualized cell therapies.”Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech
You also can’t forget other big biotech M&A from Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY). If you remember our article, “Top Biotech Penny Stocks On Robinhood To Watch This Week,” we discussed Sanofi and its strengthening relationship with a former penny stock, Translate Bio Inc. (NASDAQ: TBIO). That evolved into a $3.2 billion buyout of Translate, a 30% premium at the time of the announcement. Thanks to this (and plenty more), biotech stocks have come into focus this year. Today we’ll take a look at a list of former penny stocks that have now grown into much larger companies. Furthermore, they’ve all got upcoming potential catalysts to be well aware of especially in the near term.
Top Biotech Stocks To Watch
GT Biopharma Inc. (NASDAQ: GTBP)
With attention on oncology treatment stocks this quarter, GT Biopharma and its novel treatment platform have come into focus. Traditional treatments for cancer like chemotherapy are quickly taking a back seat to what’s being called “targeted treatment.” Popular platforms like CAR-T have emerged as the first iteration of this treatment type. The big picture on things like CAR-T is that it utilizes a patient’s own biology to treat cancer. But it doesn’t come without its downsides, including adverse side-effects as well as high-ticket costs.
GT Biopharma has focused on addressing both of these issues and worked to design a “better mousetrap,” so to speak. By taking advantage of the body’s “natural killer” or NK cells, the company has designed a tri-specific killer engager platform or “TriKE.” This type of therapy combines proteins that bridge an immune cell and a tumor cell then exponentially drive tumor cell killing power.
Fast-forward through years of research, and GT Biopharma has several candidates in multiple stages of clinical development. Starting with its lead GTB-3550 TriKE, the company aims to treat patients with acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome. Early study data has shown that GTB-3550 treatment can reduce cancer cell burden and bone marrow blast levels.
For those looking at GT Biopharma right now, August and September are important months for the company. That’s because it’s expecting the Phase 1 safety part of its GTB-3550 study to conclude this month with a data publication currently scheduled for September.
What To Watch With GT Biopharma
GTB-3550 isn’t the only TriKE in the company’s pipeline. In fact, its B7H3 TriKE has demonstrated considerable progress combined with other therapies. This includes Fate Therapeutics’ (NASDAQ: FATE) FT538 iNK cells targeting tumor cells in prostate cancer. An early study showed significant progress. The FT538 alone demonstrated a slight impact on cells in the model. However, when combined with GT’s TriKE, it demonstrated a complete eradication of cancer cells (read more on this specific trial):
GT Biopharma announced positive preclinical data from its GTB-5550 B7H3 TriKE treatment candidate earlier this month. It was effective in multiple cancer cell types, including non-small cell lung cancer, breast, renal, pancreatic, ovarian, liver, and colorectal cancers. GT Biopharma’s GTB-5550 is going through GMP manufacturing scale-up processes in preparation for filing an Investigational New Drug application with the FDA. Other treatments targeting B7 molecules include Merck’s (NYSE: MRK) blockbuster drug, Keytruda, and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (NYSE: BMY) YERVOY.
In addition to this, it’s important to note that GT Biopharma is set to report earnings this coming Friday. Aside from its financial condition, the market could also be looking to gain more insight related to its current phase trials and planned data readouts to come. These are some things to keep in mind if GTBP stock is on your list right now.
Dynavax Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: DVAX)
Similar to GTBP, Dynavax is also a former biotech penny stock on the watch list right now. The company was trading below $5 earlier this year and has since experienced a similar explosive move. In its case, Dynavax has gained interest thanks to its vaccine platform. In particular, the company is developing several candidates targeting Hepatitis B as well as COVDI-19.
Conveniently for those just beginning to look at DVAX stock right now, the company gave an overview of its platforms earlier this month in a second-quarter earnings update. Its HEPLISAV-B and CpG 1018 platforms generated revenue for the quarter, with $39 million coming from CpG 1018 and $13.7 million from HEPLISAV-B. In particular, the HEPLISAV-B revenues were the highest quarterly figures for the treatment to date. Dynavax has gone further and entered into a commercialization agreement with Bavarian Nordic for the German market.
What To Watch With Dynavax
With the coronavirus continuing to stoke uncertainty, vaccine stocks remain in focus. Dynavax’s CpG 1018 adjuvant has acted as a recent catalyst. The adjuvant is designed to increase vaccine immune response when used in vaccines, including its own HEPLISAV-B. Now, with coronavirus vaccines showing benefits, the uptick in cases has helped build more interest in the company’s pipeline.
In fact, Dynavax has entered into commercial supply agreements with numerous companies, including Biological E and Clover Biopharmaceuticals, to use Dynavax’s adjuvant in the commercial production of each company’s respective coronavirus vaccine candidates.
Agenus (NASDAQ: AGEN)
Cell therapies are clearly growing in interest among investors. Agenus has become one of the companies to benefit from the momentum stemming from this. Over the last few months, AGEN stock has climbed from below $3 to over $5.50. Thanks to a mix of milestones reached and upbeat sentiment, it has remained one of the hot biotech stocks to watch this quarter.
The company’s AGEN1181 treatment has taken a big part of the focus. That’s because clinical data has shown responses in patients refractory to approved immunotherapies. That includes patients with microsatellite stable tumors and melanoma, endometrial, and ovarian cancer. Agenus is targeting year-end for registrational trials. The focus is on a clear and swift path to a Biologics License Application submission. Moreover, updated clinical data for AGEN1181 as a monotherapy and combined with balstilimab, Agenus’ Phase 2 immune modulating antibody.
What To Watch With Agenus
In addition to AGEN1181, which is still in early development, other pipeline treatments like AGEN1777 have gained interest from some of the industry’s leading names. Bristol Myers Squibb has a global exclusive license with Agenus providing up to $200 million in cash upfront. The company can also receive up to $1.36 billion if it reaches specific milestones and includes royalties upon any sales. The FDA already cleared an Investigational New Drug Application for a Phase 1 dosing with AGEN1777 alone and combined with an anti-PD-1 in solid tumors. That’s expected to begin this quarter.
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Balstilimab mentioned earlier is something that could be in focus as well. The FDA accepted a Biologics License Application for priority review. A Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) target date was also given. December 16th will be the PDUFA date and could present an important one for the company and Balstilimab.
Phase 2 data showed a response rate of 20% in PD-L1 positive tumors, an overall response rate of 15%, and a median duration of response of 15.4 months. Furthermore, Phase 2 trial results of balstilimab combined with zalifrelimab (AGEN1884) will be presented at a Mini Oral Session at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress next month. So plenty to watch if AGEN stock is on your watch list right now.
Biotech Stocks Are Hot & Deserve Attention
One thing to consider with biotech is that there are plenty of catalysts to keep track of. Whether it’s upcoming earnings, planned data reports, or industry presentations, it’s important to know when and what will be discussed. With each of these companies mentioned, there are several near-term events to be aware of. With the way that biotech stocks have traded in 2021, the second half of the year could be an important time to have some industry stocks on your watch list.
Pursuant to an agreement between Midam Ventures LLC and GT Biopharma (GTBP) Midam has been paid $150,000 for a period from March 1, 2021, to April 1, 2021. This compensation is payment 1 of 12 as part of a 12-month agreement between Midam Ventures LLC & GT Biopharma (GTBP), for a period from March 1, 2021, to February 28, 2022. Midam Ventures LLC expects to be paid $150,000 per month for a total of 12 months by GT Biopharma (GTBP). Midam has been paid an additional $150,000 for a period from April 2, 2021, to May 1, 2021. This compensation is payment 2 of 12 as part of the Agreement. Midam has been paid an additional $150,000 for a period from May 2, 2021, to June 1, 2021. This compensation is payment 3 of 12 as part of the Agreement. Midam has been paid an additional $150,000 for a period from June 2, 2021, to July 1, 2021. This compensation is payment 4 of 12 as part of the Agreement. Midam has been paid an additional $200,000 for a period from July 2, 2021, to July 29, 2021. This compensation is payment 5 of 12 as part of the Agreement. Midam has been paid an additional $200,000 for a period from July 29, 2021, to September 2, 2021. This compensation is payment 6 of 12 as part of the Agreement. We may buy or sell additional shares of GT Biopharma (GTBP) in the open market at any time, including before, during, or after the Website and Information, to provide public dissemination of favorable Information about GT Biopharma (GTBP). Click here for full disclaimer.