Dendreon’s Top Five Shareholders Hold Their Breath for Big Trial Result

4/14/09Follow @xconomy

One way or another, Dendreon is going to create some major winners and losers today, but who will they be? Investors will find out if the company has been able to show in a clinical trial whether its immune-boosting therapy for prostate cancer, Provenge, is able to prolong lives. A positive result could send the stock booming beyond $20. A negative result will wipe out hundreds of millions in stock value, since Dendreon has no products on the market, and nothing nearly as far along in development.

The best public data available on major shareholders in Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN) are current through Dec. 31, according to filings with the SEC. With that caveat that these data aren’t current up to the minute, here are the top five holders according to data compiled by Thomson’s ShareWatch service (relayed to me by a brokerage source).

The data is less clear on short-sellers, the people who hope to profit from a falling stock. We don’t get to see their names (wouldn’t that be a nice SEC regulatory reform?), but we do get to see how many shares are playing this game. The latest data from the end of March filed with NASDAQ said there were 19.3 million shares in a short position out of Dendreon’s total outstanding shares of 98 million. They will cheer if Dendreon’s results are negative. They will also squeal in pain if the results are positive, and rush into the market to buy up shares fast to limit their losses (this fast buying pressure, of course, drives up the share price, and is known as a short squeeze).

With that, as best we can tell, here are the top five investment firms with money on the line today in Dendreon.

1. BAM Capital. This New York-based hedge fund has really loaded up, with 9.6 million shares, doubling its stake during the fourth quarter.

2. Barclays Global Investors. This international bank, which got quite a bit bigger through absorbing Lehman Brothers last fall, had 6.2 million shares in Dendreon heading into this year, a 22 percent increase during the fourth quarter.

3. Vanguard Group. The ubiquitous mutual fund operation had 3.3 million shares of Dendreon at year’s end, an 8 percent boost in its holdings in the company during the fourth quarter.

4. SG Americas Securities. The investment bank, a division of Paris-based Societe Generale, had 2.5 million shares of Dendreon on the line heading into the year. It basically held its position steady through the quarter.

5. Primecap Management. This Pasadena, CA-based equity manager had 1.8 million shares of the company heading into this year, and was the only one in the top five that sold a bit of its holdings (about 2 percent) during the fourth quarter.

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