Immunomedics (NASDAQ: IMMU) is up 19% at 2:21 p.m. EST, after announcing a new CEO following the closing bell yesterday. The company also announced fiscal first-quarter earnings, but the jump in stock price is more likely to be related to the new leadership than to the earnings results.
For the record, Immunomedics, which doesn't have a drug on the market yet, recorded revenue of $0.7 million and lost $118.7 million, although most of that -- $99.6 million -- was related to changes in values of warrants and convertible senior notes, a non-cash expense.
Immunomedics was in a proxy fight with activist investor venBio Select Advisor over the company's licensing deal with Seattle Genetics for IMMU-132, which venBio thought undervalued the asset. The winner was venBio, resulting in the termination of the deal and the ouster of president and CEO Cynthia Sullivan along with David Goldenberg, founder of the company, who held the roles of chief scientific officer and chief patent officer. The company's CFO, Michael Garone, assumed the role of interim CEO while the board searched for a new CEO.
Six months later, Immunomedics finally announced a new CEO (Garone went back to being the CFO), but it was well worth the wait with Michael Pehl taking the job. Pehl has solid credentials, having been the president of the hematology and oncology division at Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG). Immunomedics also announced a new chief commercial officer, Brendan Delaney, who worked under Pehl at Celgene as vice president of U.S. commercial hematology and oncology.
Immunomedics is testing IMMU-132 as a treatment for triple-negative breast cancer, so Pehl's and Delaney's experience, especially with Celgene's Abraxane -- approved for metastatic breast cancer -- should help the company as it develops and hopefully launches IMMU-132.
The duo will have to hit the ground running, as Immunomedics plans to apply for accelerated approval for IMMU-132 in the first quarter of next year.
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