Biotech-Lab-iStock_000012510984XSmall_0-150x150I know you are tired of worrying about a stock that may go down because bus drivers go on strike in Greece, if the Chinese bubble blows, if the folks on Capitol Hill become even more indifferent to the needs of the country in public. How about a stock that will go up or down – and I believe up – based on what it does regardless of the market? The biotech company and biotech stock are Curis (CRIS).

I know something of this biotech stock – I first wrote about it after the crash when it traded around 80 cents, it is now around $4.50. The stock should get to $5 soon, stall and then it will trade waiting for an FDA decision in early March. Here is the five-year chart.

CURIS.5-YEAR.2011-12-27_11401

What is Curis and why do I like it?

Curis is a 21st-century cancer-treatment company – new technology, new approach. The company’s treatments in trial aim to disrupt cellular communication to disrupt cell duplication and therefore disrupt tumor growth by interfering with activity along the Hedgehog pathway – yes, we all have one in our body.

20 clinical trials underway

Biotech_1-223x300Two simple facts make Curis a better-than-average speculative biotech stock play in the universe of cancer treatment companies. First, it has more than 20 clinical trials underway with the best possible partners – Genentech/Roche (RHHBY) and the National Cancer Institute. That is a huge number for a small outfit like Curis. Second,  the March date for an FDA thumbs up or thumbs down is not only a great potential short-term catalyst,  it will be proof Curis technology works.  The treatment in question, GDC-0449, is for advanced basal cell carcinoma – late-stage skin cancer that has no real treatments worth mentioning. I believe the FDA will say yes. Why? Genentech/Roche thought the Phase II trial results for the treatment were so strong they skipped the typical Phase III trial and went straight to an approval. And visual imagery of patients in the earlier trials was compelling as was preliminary data released to the public. Curis’ technology also has the advantage of having produced few side effects in trials to date.

Curis as speculative biotech stock, long-term play

The March 8 PDUFA date – the bureaucratic term for when the FDA is supposed to make a decision – is not that far away. I own the stock and began building a position at $3 and add more to my position as the price is more than 10% above my average cost. As I wrote above, I believe this biotech stock could stall around $5, pending the decision by the FDA, but with a positive decision, regulatory endorsement that their technology works and more than twenty other trials under way, Curis is also a very good, if speculative, long-term play.

Short term, if GDC-0449 wins approval, it may stick around $5 for a bit but I see it trading up to $11 in a year or so. Longer term, my target is $45.

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