Why Galena Biopharma Inc. Shares Roared Higher

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Galena Biopharma  advanced as much as 28% after the biopharmaceutical company focused on developing cancer therapies received two price target hikes from Wall Street firms and announced the first patient enrollment in a phase 2 clinical trial for its GALE-301 treatment.

So what: GALE-301 is a cancer immunotherapy that targets the folate binding protein that is overexpressed in breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer. Immunotherapy research (teaching the body's immune system to recognize and fight back against cancer cells) was very popular among investors in 2013, and the start of a pivotal phase 2 study is certain to excite shareholders. Two price target hikes following this news are also giving shares a lift. Maxim Group raised its price target to $9 from $6, while Piper Jaffray boosted its price target to $7 from $2.75.

Now what: Although shareholders are clearly excited about its FBP immunotherapy, much of Galena's valuation is baked into the success of NeuVax which is currently in phase 3 trials. Unfortunately, the breast cancer trial involving NeuVax is going to take years, so investors will be waiting quite some time without many catalysts. I'm not saying NeuVax won't be successful, but this mammoth rally in Galena's share price is likely unwarranted until we get to see that top-line phase 3 NeuVax data.

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The article Why Galena Biopharma Inc. Shares Roared Higher originally appeared on Fool.com.

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