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10 Stocks Under $10 to Watch at ASCO

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Biotech investors are already sifting through the list of presenters at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting, searching for potential winners. Here are 10 stocks trading under $10 to watch in the runup to this closely watched cancer drug conference.

Biotech investors are already sifting through the list of presenters at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) annual meeting, searching for potential winners. While the latest clinical-trial data on promising new treatments won’t be available until May 18, when ASCO will publish the companies research abstracts on its website, investment analysts are already weighing in on which publicly traded biotechs will receive the biggest boost in share price from their presentations.

Indeed, some biotech companies have seen their stock prices double or even triple in price in the weeks ahead of the conference, as investors bet on positive news coming out of the conference -- what some market watchers call the “ASCO-effect.” Which stocks have the greatest upside potential? Here are 10 stocks trading under $10 to watch in the runup to the closely watched cancer drug conference.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARIA) is expected to report on the results of a mid-stage study of ponatinib for chronic myeloid leukemia. According to researchers, ponatinib was shown in preclinical studies to inhibit a rare cell mutation that is very drug resistant, and it also appeared to prevent the emergence of this and other mutations. The Cambridge, Mass., drug developer, along with collaborator Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK), is also expected to present results from a late-stage study of ridaforolimus, a small molecule inhibitor, in sarcoma. Ariad’s shares were trading Wednesday at $6.33 a share, while shares of Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., were at $32.49.

Cell Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: CTIC) is expected to present updated clinical data on tosedostat for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the most deadly form of blood cancer in adults. Cell Therapeutics recently entered into a licensing deal with Chroma Therapeutics Ltd. of the U.K., for the rights to the drug in North, Central and South America. The Seattle company’s shares were trading at 44 cents a share.

Curis Inc. (NASDAQ: CRIS), along with co-developer Roche Holding AG of Switzerland, announced earlier this week that its vismodegib oral basal cell carcinoma drug proved successful in shrinking tumors in some patients in a mid-stage study. Basal cell carcinoma is a common type of skin cancer, affecting some 2 million people every year. The Cambridge, Mass., company’s shares were recently at $3.02.

EpiCept Corp.’s (NASDAQ: EPCT) lead product is Ceplene, a remission maintenance therapy of acute myeloid leukemia for adults in their first remission. Ceplene is already approved in the European Union and Israel. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked for more proof that Ceplene is efficient enough in prolonging leukemia patients' lives. The Swedish-American company’s shares were trading Wednesday at 72 cents a share.

Oncothyreon Inc. (NASDAQ: ONTY) is expected to present the latest data on its Stimuvax vaccine. Stimuvax inhibits MUC1, a protein antigen found in many common cancers, including lung, breast and colorectal cancers. Oncothyreon has granted worldwide license to Stimuvax to German’s Merck KGaA. Last week, investment analysts Wedbush initiated coverage of the Bellevue, Wash.-based company with an “outperform” rating and set a $6 a share price target. Wednesday, its shares were at $3.70.

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Oxigene Inc. (NASDAQ: OXGN) of South San Francisco, Calif., will be presenting data on its anaplastic thyroid cancer drug Zybrestat. The drug is currently being evaluated in a mid-stage study of patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Earlier this week, the company’s shares jumped after the FDA recommended further trials of Zybrestat. Its shares were trading at $2.17.

Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NASDAQ: SNTA) is expected to present updated clinical study data on its STA-9090 drug for patients with metastatic and/or unresectable gastrointestinal stromal tumors. The Lexington, Mass., company presented results on Phase I trials of STA-9090 at ASCO last year. Its shares were at $5.06.

Vical Inc. (NASDAQ: VICL) is expected to present late-stage study data on its high dose allovectin-7 drug for patients with metastatic melanoma, a fatal form of skin cancer. The San Diego company’s shares were at $2.53.

Canada’s YM BioSciences Inc. (NYSE: YMI) is expected to present interim mid-stage data on its myelofibrosis drug CYT387. Myelofibrosis is a bone marrow disorder in which the marrow is replaced by scar tissue. Its shares were trading at $2.52.

Ziopharm Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: ZIOP) is expected to present the latest data on darinaparsin, which is being developed to treat a number of cancers, including peripheral T-cell lymphoma. Ziopharm, based in New York, recently granted exclusive license to develop and sell oral and intravenous forms of darinaparsin in Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, and Australia to Japan’s Solasia Pharma. Ziopharm’s shares were at $5.73.


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