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Geron shares soar after first glance of imetelstat data for myelofibrosis

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Shares of Geron ($GERN) doubled this morning after the company posted an abstract highlighting promising results from a small study at the Mayo Clinic conducted on imetelstat for myelofibrosis.

TheStreet's Adam Feuerstein was one of the first to jump on the data, reporting that the abstract boasted four cases with a complete remission, one partial remission and three patients demonstrating a clinical improvement--out of 18 patients in the study. The abstract was made available by the American Society of Hematology, which holds its big science meeting in early December.

The data are particularly critical for Geron, which had already seen its share price surge in anticipation of the results from the study. The company has been working on drug development for 20 years, without much success for much of that time.

Late last year the biotech announced that GRN1005--in-licensed from Angiochem--was being jettisoned after investigators failed to see the kind of patient response they were looking for in a Phase II study for brain cancer. And without a pause executives announced they were terminating 43 of the company's 107 staffers in a move to conserve cash. Coming fast on the heels of a mid-stage failure for its other lead therapy, Geron shares crumbled yet again, even as it touted new signs of hope for its once-troubled program for imetelstat.

Earlier in 2012 Geron reported that big trouble developed for imetelstat, involved in a 166-patient study for metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer, as researchers found that the paclitaxel comparator arm was doing better than the lead drug. Geron was hoping that indications of success in imetelstat's Phase II would change its fortunes.

As of this morning, their strategy is working. The big question now is whether Geron can continue to sustain some lofty expectations.

- here's the brief from TheStreet

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