Rating Lends Momentum to Oncothyreon Volume; Shares Strong Today
Oncothyreon (NASDAQ:ONTY) is up 11% this morning after a major gap from yesterday’s close took shares to $4.94. The jump comes on the heels of a Buy rating by Stifel Nicolaus, announced early this morning. The banking firm set a target price of $10. The company’s lead product Stimuvax is in two Phase 3 trials for the treatment of Non Small-Cell Lung Cancer. After an independent data-monitoring committee recommended in March that Stimuvax testing be extended into next year, share price plummeted from $9.00. That high, however, may represent an attainable near-term price for ONTY as the strength moving into March was based on expected Stimuvax data in 2012. Although the subsequent sell-off weakened the stock by more than 35%, it may represent a buying opportunity for longer-term investors if further Stimuvax data looks good. Shares may even have enough momentum – volume is more than double its 30-day average – moving into next week to break $5.00 resistance.
Stimuvax is a therapeutic vaccine used post-chemotherapy to extend the life of lung cancer patients. The treatment had some rocky results early on, with a temporary suspension due to safety, but revealing bottom-line data of its Phase III trial won’t be seen until at least next year. The trials are sponsored by ONTY’s development partner, Merck (NYSE:MRK); Oncothyreon stands to receive milestone payments and royalties in the high single-digits to teens. Some analysts are skeptical of Stimuvax as a cancer vaccine, even if it is approved; they cite the failures of highly-anticipated Provenge, a similar immunotherapy from Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN), in the marketplace. Regardless, shares should gain strength as dates are revealed for upcoming trial results.