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Cramer: Know your IPO! Good, bad & ugly biotechs

The biotech group has fallen on hard times recently, down some 15 percent since Hillary Clinton's infamous tweet regarding pharmaceutical price gouging. And while the group did rebound on Wednesday, Jim Cramer has seen a number of companies that have had the unfortunate timing to come public amid the negative backdrop.

"So I have to wonder, is this market giving you an incredible opportunity to pick up high-quality biotech stocks at prices that are much lower than where they would be trading, if not for all of the headline risk from this political firestorm over drug pricing?" the "Mad Money" host asked.

That is why Cramer decided to dig into three biotech companies that have come public in the past week, to help investors figure out what IPOs are real opportunities and which ones are junk.

Novocure was the first company on Cramer's list. It is a $1.5 billion biotech, with a revolutionary approach to treating cancer. Unfortunately, it came public on Friday and sank almost 17 percent below its IPO price after the first day of trading.

Cramer thinks that is crazy.





Biotech
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"You have to be careful, because not all of these fresh faced biotechs are worth owning" -Jim Cramer

When he dug into the fundamentals, it became obvious to Cramer that this company has more going for it than many other public biotechs. The company isn't another development stage biotech with no products coming to market.

It has also invented a proprietary cancer therapy called Tumor Treading Fields, to use alternating electric fields in order to disrupt key molecules inside cancer cells. It aims to make it more difficult for those cells to replicate.

However, Cramer spotted the real business opportunity for Novocure as treating patients with glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM, with its first Tumor Treating Fields device, called Optune. On Tuesday, Optune received FDA approval for treating that stage of the disease.

"This is exactly the kind of recent biotech IPO that I think is worth betting on, and the fact that Novocure is down nearly 19 percent from where it came public last Friday only makes that opportunity more attractive," Cramer said.

Still, he was skeptical of the two other biotech IPOs he researched. Edge Therapeutics came public last Thursday, and spiked 17 percent on its first day of trading. However, when Cramer took a closer look, he found that most of its pipeline is still in a very early stage.

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In fact, the company's lead drug still has yet to move into Phase 3 trials. Edge's stock is dependent on the success of those trials, so Cramer expects that the stock will be very volatile given that there aren't many catalysts for it until the middle of next year.

"In a different market, I might be willing to give this stock my blessing, but in this environment, I think Edge Therapeutics is just too chancy," Cramer added.

Next up was Aclaris Therapeutics, which Cramer also found to be too risky for his taste. This is a tiny company developing novel treatments for skin diseases. And while the company has plenty of projects in the works, they are only just entering Phase 1 trials.

So while its drug could ultimately be worth something, Cramer had to deem it as another risky one-drug wonder. He was also concerned with how fast Aclaris is burning through cash, as they may need to raise more money.

"The monster sell-off in biotech might be creating some opportunities in the space, especially among the newly public companies that have IPO'd right into the teeth of the carnage. However, you have to be careful, because not all of these fresh-faced biotechs are worth owning," Cramer said. (Tweet this)

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