Dendreon’s “Clear Hit” on Provenge, Oncothyreon Rides Coattails, Cell Therapeutics Nabs $15M, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

4/16/09Follow @xconomy

The Xconomy biotech desk felt more like “Dendreon News Central” this week. The Seattle biotech company captured headlines around the world when its immune-stimulating treatment for prostate cancer showed it could help men live longer with prostate cancer with minimal side effects. We had several angles on this story, but there was actually plenty of other big news from Amgen and Cell Therapeutics. So here’s the recap:

—Dendreon CEO Mitchell Gold didn’t dive into the statistical nitty-gritty of the Provenge clinical trial results this week, but he told investors this week the findings were “unambiguous” and a “clear hit” that showed the drug can help men live longer with terminal forms of prostate cancer. But even before the company showed the full results, investors pounced. Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN) shares rocketed from $7.30 the day before the news broke to $17.16 at yesterday’s close.

—For a little company with no marketed products and no profits, Dendreon has some fat coattails. The Provenge success sparked an investor frenzy for cheap shares in the next company with a chance to make immunotherapies, or cancer vaccines, that stimulate the immune system to fight cancer like a virus. Seattle-based Oncothyreon (NASDAQ: ONTY) got a momentary lift from this effect, as did Lexington, MA-based Antigenics (NASDAQ: AGEN).

—So who made the most dough on the Dendreon success? Here’s a list of the company’s five biggest shareholders, which we published in the wee hours leading up to the fateful announcement. There were also 19 million shares out of 98 million outstanding that were in a short position, hoping to profit from a drop in Dendreon shares. Sadly, we don’t get their names in the public records, so we can’t say for sure who lost the most.

—Xconomy broke the news that Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN), the world’s largest biotech company, is cutting 100 jobs at its facility in Bothell, WA. Those workers made small batches of biotech drugs for use in clinical trials, and that work is being consolidated at another facility at headquarters in Thousand Oaks, CA. The company is keeping about 70 workers at the Bothell facility, who specialize in fine-tuning biotech manufacturing processes.

—Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CTIC) has been cutting costs to stay afloat this year, but this week it found a way to get a single investor, Cranshire Capital, to invest another $15 million in the company. This could allow the company … Next Page »

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  • Philip

    Ist Cell therapeutics auch für gesundheits – und schönheitsprodukte zuständig bzw. werden dies auch produziert?
    schö. dank

    Tyrol-Italy