Billionaire investor George Soros may have an interest in Juno Therapeutics, an immunotherapy stock that had its IPO last Friday, multimedia financial services company The Motley Fool said.
As of the end of September, Soros owned more than 660, 000 shares of immunotherapy biotech stock Kite Pharmaceuticals, shares that Soros could very well have bought during Kite’s IPO in July ahead of a 200% jump. Soros’ bet on Kite suggests that he’s a fan of immunotherapy plays, so it will be intriguing to learn whether or not he also takes a stake in Juno, an article on the company’s website said.
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Immunotherapy is a highly promising approach to cancer treatment that does away with chemotherapy’s shock-and-awe approach of destroying both cancerous and healthy cells, and battles back against cancer by re-engineering the body’s own immune system. Juno hopes to do this by altering the genetic code of the immune system’s T-cells to allow them to more easily recognize and kill cancer cells, the company said.
Similar to Kite, the emerging biotech company’s research focuses primarily on B-cell lymphomas and leukemias and during very early stage research, Juno’s approach has demonstrated an ability to shrink tumors.
Historically, just 7% of cancer drugs entering phase 1 trials ever end up winning the FDA green light and many of those drugs fail because they present considerable safety risks, the article said.
In order to fund research into its technology that will hopefully allow Juno to overcome these risks, the company is tapping equity markets to build up cash. Fortunately, demand for Juno’s shares was high leading up to the IPO, which allowed Juno to increase the offer price on its shares to $24 from the previous price per share range of $21-$23, according to the website.
Biotech stocks have been market darlings this past year and emerging biotech stocks like Kite Pharmaceuticals have been some of this year’s biggest winners.
However, emerging, clinical-stage biotech stocks present significant risks. Any number of things can derail clinical trials and the enormous expense of those trials often means that investors are diluted later on by stock offerings necessary to keep cash stockpiles flush. As a result, these companies are best suited for risk-tolerant investors who can endure a complete loss. That being said, immunotherapy is incredibly intriguing and that suggests these companies should remain on investor radars, regardless of whether or not Soros takes a stake, The Motley Fool said.
Meanwhile, an article in Investing.com said that Soros is reputed to have made a $1 billion profit during the Bank of England’s unsuccessful attempt to defend the pound in 1992 by borrowing the threatened currency and investing the borrowed cash abroad, and then repaying the loans after the exchange rate depreciated.