March 13, 2018 8:02am

Getting and keeping an upside, layer releases

The market tumult reflects uncertainty over valuations at a time of raised anxiety in the sector


Companies in my headlights: 1 SELL and 2 BUYs

Q4 and FY17 results: ATHX, IMUC, BLCM, CLLS and VSTM


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Higher open expected


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Dow futures are UP +0.21% (+53 points) and NASDAQ futures are UP +0.12% (+9 points)


U.S. stock index futures posted slight gains ahead of Tuesday's open with investors monitoring some key economic data.

European markets mixed as investors await US inflation data;

Asian markets end mixed as investors await US inflation data


Issues to be faced at the open: concerns surrounding a potential trade war resurfaced

Data docket: At 6 a.m. ET, the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index is due out, followed by a whole batch of core consumer price index (CPI) data, scheduled to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.



Been where, done what …

RegMed, stem, gene and cell therapy sector’s record over 5 sessions (of 40 covered companies):

  • Monday closed NEGATIVE with 22 decliners, 16 advancers and 2 flat;
  • Friday closed POSITIVE with 17 decliners, 21 advancers and 2 flats;
  • Thursday closed NEGATIVE with 22 decliners, 17 advancers and 1 flat;
  • Wednesday closed POSITIVE with 9 decliners, 29 advancers and 2 flats;
  • Last Tuesday closed POSITIVE with 13 decliners, 22 advancers and 5 flats;




From last night’s newsletter, ““What the market gives, it also takes away. The sector open, mid-day and close were negative as to the advance/decline lines ... We’re being pulled by low volume in the tug-of-war between the overbought and oversold. The pulling rope, small-cap focused Russell 2000 (RUT) was up 0.25%, putting the gauge just about 0.6% shy of its all-time high close of 1610.71 on 1/23.”


Today’s indications:

  • The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology (IBB) is indicating a NEGATIVE -0.37% downside in Tuesday’s pre-market;
  • The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) is NOT indicating in Tuesday’s pre-market;
  • The Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV) is indicating a POSITIVE +0.55% upside in Tuesday’s pre-open;
  • The iShares Russell 2000 (IWM) is indicating a POSITIVE +0.38% upside in Tuesday’s pre-open


Companies in my headlights: 

Athersys (ATHX) closed flat at $1.56 with 298 K shares traded <3 month average = 629 K shares> after Friday’s +$0.03 to $1.56 with 361.4 K shares traded <3 month average = 629 K shares>.  ATHX and HEALIOS K.K. significantly expand their existing development and commercialization collaboration.  As part of this expansion, Healios is making an approximate $21 million equity investment at $1.76 per share, will deposit $10 million into escrow, and has entered into a letter of intent (“LOI”) with ATHX to expand Healios’ license to develop MultiStem® products for indications to include acute respiratory distress syndrome (“ARDS”), trauma in Japan and the use of MultiStem products in conjunction with organ bud technology and certain ophthalmological indications globally.  Healios will also obtain an exclusive option to a license to develop and commercialize MultiStem products for ischemic stroke, ARDS and trauma in China, and obtain certain other rights.  In exchange, Athersys would receive committed payments of $35 million, as well as additional payments, including milestones and royalties BUY;

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals (BLCM) closed down -$0.12 to $8.03 and has a pre-market indication of +$0.86 or +11.96% on news of interim clinical data of BPX-501 in pediatric patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs). BPX-501 is an adjunct T cell therapy incorporating CaspaCIDe® administered after haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplant (haplo-HSCT) for the treatment of hematologic cancers and inherited blood diseases. Data from the ongoing BP-004 trial suggest that BPX-501 T cells may contribute to a durable anti-leukemic effect in patients with AML. In the study, 38 pediatric AML patients in their first (n=13) or second (n=25) complete response underwent a haplo-HSCT followed by treatment with BPX-501 – BUY;

bluebird bio (BLUE) closed up +$1.10 to $233.05 with 384.2 K shares traded <3 month average = 910.2 K shares> after Friday’s +$6.00 to $231.95, will the juggernaut ever cease to appreciate? There has to be a slow-down. During February, we saw a start at $205.25, a low of $190.80 and a high of $207.40 while March initiated at $203.15 considering that January opened at $179.75.  Is everyone afraid to get off the bus, and miss the upside scenario - the overloaded “bus” has to stop sometime – Maintaining SELL;



Opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change, and not intended to be a forecast of future events, a guarantee of future results, nor investment advice.

Whether information or intelligence is good, bad or somewhere in between; I put into context what is relevant and useful for investors.  All investments are subject to risks. Investors should consider investment objectives.

Henry McCusker, the editor and publisher of RegMed Investors does not hold or have positions in securities referred to in this publication.