Cramer’s Watch List Ahead of Big Cancer Conference

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"The American Society of Clinical Oncology or ASCO meeting scheduled to begin on May 31st could give us a cornucopia of health care catalysts," said Jim Cramer.

Although Cramer concedes that he doesn't know exactly what will be announced at ASCO, the abstracts of the research to be presented at the conference were released last week.

"And they provide a decent sense of what's coming," he said.

The Mad Money host sifted through all the research and he concluded that a handful of companies are well worth watching as complete details of their ground breaking research are made public. They are:


Cramer will be watching for news involving a Gilead drug called Idelalisib. "It's currently in phase 3 trials as a treatment for advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and it's also being studied for non-Hodgkins lymphoma," Cramer said.

Although other companies are also developing treatments, "last week, Gilead released some very positive early stage data on Idelalisib, and now the company is pushing for accelerated approval from the FDA. The overall market for these drugs could be worth $10 billion. That's a big pie," Cramer explained.

"We don't know how large Gilead's piece will be, but I think we'll get a lot more clarity once they present at the ASCO conference, and this could potentially be a needle-mover," Cramer said.

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Cramer also said a focus of the conference will include immunotherapy, a treatment that helps the immune system fight cancer.

"This category of drugs could be worth more than $10 billion just in melanoma, lung cancer and kidney cancer alone," Cramer said. "The way to play it? Bristol-Myers. Right now, Bristol's leading cancer immunotherapy play is a drug called Nivolumab that's in phase 3 trials and being studied for melanoma, non small cell lung cancer and renal cell cancer. The consensus on Wall Street is that this could be a $1.8 billion drug, but the data we saw last week was very positive, and if it gets approved for multiple indications, it could be worth $5 or $6 billion in peak sales," Cramer said.


Cramer is a fan of Merck largely due to its broad portfolio of products. On April 9th he cited the stock as a potential catch-up play, with Merck lagging the sector. And with ASCO at hand Cramer sees another potential catalyst.

"Merck's going to present data on their own cancer immunotherapy treatment for melanoma, although their drug is still in early stage trials," he said.

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Not to be confused with energy stock Tesoro, Cramer said that Tesaro is a speculative biopharma play that makes a drug to help cancer patients deal with chemotherapy induced nausea. In addition he said Tesaro is also working on a treatment for ovarian and breast cancer called Niraparib. "This drug's currently going into phase 3 development and could be worth $500 million in peak sales, which is a big deal for this $1.15 billion company," he said.

Although Cramer likes the potential, he also noted that Tesaro spiked $4 when the abstracts for this conference came out last week. "While I think it could be a terrific play going into the ASCO meeting, I only advise buying the stock on a pullback here," Cramer said.


BioMarin is a long-time Cramer favorite largely as a maker of orphan drugs, used to treat extremely rare diseases.

However, the ASCO conference could also be a catalyst, too. "It has a PARP inhibitor anti-cancer drug in the pipeline that's in phase 2 trials," he said. "Expect the Street to be listening for that."

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