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Celldex Therapeutics Keeps Up Its Penny-Pinching and Pipeline Progress

Keith Speights, The Motley Fool

Celldex Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CLDX) has two primary goals in 2019. First, the biotech wants to advance its pipeline candidates. Second, it wants to stretch out its cash as much as possible. Celldex did pretty well on both counts when it reported its first-quarter results in May.

The company provided an update on its second-quarter progress after the market closed on Wednesday. Here are the highlights from Celldex's latest quarterly report.

Gloved hand holding a flask with test tubes, dropper, and other lab glassware around it.

Image source: Getty Images.

Celldex Therapeutics results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q2 2019

Q2 2018

Change

Revenue

$0.7 million $2.8 million

(75%)

Net loss

($11.8 million) ($16.4 million)

N/A

Earnings per share (EPS)

($0.84) ($1.67)

N/A

Data Source: Celldex Therapeutics. N/A = Not Applicable.

What happened with Celldex Therapeutics this quarter?

For the most part, Celldex Therapeutics' second-quarter financial results don't mean a whole lot to investors. The company's revenue declined due to it receiving less money from its collaboration agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb and its contract manufacturing and research and development (R&D) agreements with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and Rockefeller University. But Celldex's revenue wasn't much to speak of in the prior-year period, either.

The biotech reduced its expenses compared to the second quarter of 2018. R&D expenses fell significantly due to lower clinical trial, staffing, and contract manufacturing costs. General and administrative expenses also declined year over year in part from lower staffing and commercial planning costs.

Celldex's most important financial metric is still its cash position. The company reported cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities of $81.3 million at the end of the second quarter. This reflected a small decline from the $85.1 million on hand at the end of March. Celldex used $11 million of cash to fund operating activities but partially offset this amount with $7.2 million in net proceeds raised from selling shares.

What management had to say

Celldex CEO Anthony Marucci stated:

Celldex made considerable progress in the first half of the year across multiple programs. We presented exciting data from our CDX-3379 program in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma at ASCO [American Society of Clinical Oncology], where we observed intriguing clinical activity across a number of patients with similar gene mutation patterns. As a result, we have expanded the study to allow for a deeper evaluation of these biomarkers for patient selection. This could be important for the field as patients with refractory head and neck cancer face extremely limited treatment options and a particularly poor prognosis.

We also reported data from multiple programs at AACR [American Association for Cancer Research], including from our ongoing dose-escalation study of CDX-1140. We recently successfully completed the monotherapy dosing cohorts and are advancing nicely through the combination cohorts with our dendritic cell growth factor, CDX-301. We are currently finalizing plans to initiate a combination cohort with a checkpoint inhibitor and look forward to presenting data from the ongoing program this fall.

Finally, we made an important addition to the Celldex leadership team. In June, we announced that Dr. Diane Young has joined Celldex as Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Young brings a deep background in successful drug development to Celldex that will strengthen our clinical development efforts and support the continued progress of our product pipeline.

Looking forward

Celldex expects to save over $3.5 million annually beginning in the second half of 2020 by consolidating its Massachusetts lab and manufacturing facilities. The company won't renew its lease for its Needham facility and plans to move most functions and employees to its Fall River facility. With proactive steps like this to conserve cash, Celldex continues to believe that its current cash stockpile combined with anticipated proceeds from future sales of stock under the Cantor agreement will carry it through 2020.

The next big pipeline development for investors to look forward to is an anticipated kickoff by the end of 2019 of a phase 1 study of experimental drug CDX-0159. Celldex plans to submit for approval to begin this study within the next few months. The biotech also plans to present data from the ongoing phase 1 study of CDX-1140 in treating solid tumors and B cell lymphomas at a medical meeting this fall.


Keith Speights has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

This article was originally published on Fool.com