Cellect Biotechnology Ltd. (NASDAQ:APOP) is up 74% to start the week after the little-known biotech completed its first stem cell transplant in Phase I/II trial. Today’s gains give APOP stock an astounding — though not uncommon for biotech — 260% year-to-date gain.
Cellect Biotechnology was founded just a handful of years ago, in 2011, with the intent of legitimizing the use of regenerative medicine. If Cellect succeeds in its mission, it would position itself as the main provider of stem cell treatments and technologies for the Big Pharma industry. That’s not exactly small potatoes.
Essentially, the now-risky process of stem cell treatments would become “a trivial, safe and inexpensive process.” Investors caught a glimpse of that future today and bid APOP stock up accordingly.
Cellect’s Stem Cell Success
The transplant procedure was accomplished using Cellect’s proprietary ApoGraft technology in a blood cancer patient.
Usually, stem cell bone marrow transplants have a 50-50 risk of causing graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD), which is when a donor’s immune cells attack the patient’s healthy, normal cells, which can be life threatening.
Cellect CEO Dr. Shai Yarkoni had this to say:
“After 15 years of research, this is the first time we have used our technology on a cancer patient suffering from life-threatening conditions. It is a first good step on a road that we hope will lead to stem cell based regenerative medicine becoming a safe commodity treatment at every hospital in the world.”
The success of Cellect’s stem cell transplant has led the independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board to approve two additional patient enrollments into the company’s ApoGraft treatment program.
Bottom Line on APOP Stock
Unlike many other once-hot biotechs, Cellect shares have retained their gains throughout the life of APOP — up 125% since going public in July 2016. That’s not to say it hasn’t had its fair share of peaks and troughs, however, as APOP stock saw an intraday low of $2.30, and is off of its high of $13.50. Today’s trading volume of 7.3 million compares to an average of 165,000, however, suggesting the spotlight is now on Cellect Biotechnology.
Indeed, investors are applauding in droves Cellect’s first successful stem cell transplant. That’s because the global market for stem cells will grow from $12 billion in 2016 to $26.6 billion by 2021, with regenerative medicine as its major application. All eyes will be on Cellect’s second stem cell trial, as well as the success (or failure) of its competitors.
As it is, it’s too early to tell whether APOP stock will continue to hold its gains, or give it all back in one explosive misstep.
As of this writing, John Kilhefner did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.