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What's Up With Dendreon?

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CNBC.com

Dendreon is up yet again today on heavy volume. Several investors have emailed me and one analyst voicemailed me asking if I know what's going on. I don't. And I see no news. I did notice, however, in this week's Barron's that the short interest in DNDN ticked up eight percent between March 13th and March 31st.

So, maybe it's continued short-covering. And in the "Winners and Losers" columns of Barron's, Dendreon was listed as the fifth biggest volume percentage leader on the Nasdaq over the past week, up 245 percent. Again, that's the volume percentage increase, not the share price increase.

All this action is taking place ahead of the expected release of the key clinical trial data of Dendreon's Provenge for prostate cancer. If the results are robust enough, it could pave the way toward FDA approval of the unique treatment. Companies often release so-called topline data, or just the basics, in a press release and withhold the details (where the devil sometimes lives) for presentation at a scientific conference and/or peer-reviewed journal publication. I don't know if that's how Dendreon will handle it. But we do know that DNDN has a placeholder in the program at the upcoming American Urological Association meeting in Chicagothe end of this month. That means if the data are ready, the researchers are essentially guaranteed a high-profile presentation slot as a "late-breaker." Those sessions are reserved for data that come in relatively close to meeting dates and are usually of high interest and big significance.

It does not mean that the results are gonna be good. So, as always, caveat emptor.

UPDATE: DNDN will host a conference call 9am tomorrow to talk about prostate cancer clinical trial results. Stock halted after big gain on heavy volume today.


Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com and follow me on Twitter at mhuckman