Two Big Winners in Bristol Myers Squibb and Celgene

The American Society of Oncology Meeting is normally good times for biotech as scientific and clinical developments propel stocks. This year the personalized medicine theme with potential breakthroughs in  targeted therapy for cancer is expected show excellent clinical results.

In advance of ASCO Bristol Myers(BMY) presented data in the New England Journal of Medicine showing improved overall survival in a Phase 3 trial for a melanoma drug called Ipilimumab. The primary endpoint of the drug was met with 44/46 patients alive after one year and 22-24% alive after two years.Ipilimumab is aT-cell potentiator that blocks the inhibitory signal of CTLA-4 (cytotoxic T-lymphocyte associated antigen 4), a molecule on T cells that plays a critical role in regulating immune responses.Supression of  CTLA-4 can augment the immune systems T cell response in fighting disease. Analysts have estimated peak sales of $1B  for the drug.Bristol-Myers(BMY) stock was up over 6% and closed at $23.86 among the few winners in biopharmaceuticals today.

Celgene (CELG) stock was  up 4.4% to $53.80 based on an ASCO presentation of a Phase 2 drug Revlimid for chronic lymphocytic leukemia(CLL). The overall response for 60 patients was 62% with 15% of the patients receiving a complete response. Revlimid does not have marketing approval for CLL but is on the market for multiple myeloma patients with  transfusion- dependent anemia.

However a bad day at NASDAQ translated into a worse day for biotech with our index of 35 mid-call biotech stocks all in the red. Biotech ETF’s FBT and IBB were down about 1.5%. The Rayno Life Science Portfolio was down 1.2% with only three winners: Celgene (CELG), Illumina (ILMN) and United Therapeutics (UTHR).Biotech stocks have been in a funk despite a nice rally last week with the Amgen approval of Prolia for osteoporosis.

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