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Geron (GERN) Q1 Earnings: What's in Store for the Stock?

Geron Corporation GERN is scheduled to report first quarter 2016 results on May 5 after the market closes. The company’s fourth quarter 2015 loss was in-line with expectations. Let’s see how things are shaping up for the first quarter announcement.

Focus Remains on Imetelstat

With Geron being a development stage company, investor focus will remain on the company’s pipeline progress. Geron currently has one candidate in its pipeline, imetelstat, which is being developed in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ Janssen Biotech.

Imetelstat is currently in a phase II study (IMbark) in patients with DIPSS intermediate-2 or high-risk myelofibrosis who have relapsed after or are refractory to a JAK inhibitor. An internal review to determine the adequacy of one or both of the initial dosing arms is slated for the second half of the year. Based on this review, a decision will be taken regarding the continuation/halting/modification of the dosing arms or the selection of alternative doses.

Imetelstat is in a phase II/III study as well for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). An internal review of this study (to support advancement into Part 2) is also expected in the second half of the year.

On the fourth quarter call, Geron had guided towards cash operating expenses of approximately $34 million in 2016 – this includes $18 million representing Geron’s share of cost for the studies under the Janssen collaboration, about $9 million in personnel related cost, and $7 million for corporate costs like business development, legal, accounting, IT and facilities.

In addition to updates on imetelstat, investors will also be interested to know if Geron has made any progress in expanding its pipeline. The company is seeking to add new oncology candidates, programs or companies to its portfolio with its focus primarily on the hematology-oncology space.

Surprise History

Geron’s performance over the last four quarters is mixed with the company surpassing expectations in two quarter and meeting expectations in the other two quarters. The average surprise over the last four quarters is +17.81%.

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Geron is likely to beat earnings. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank of #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. That is not the case here, as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Earnings Surprise Prediction or Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is 0.00%. Both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate for Geron are a loss of 6 cents per share.

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold): Note that stocks with Zacks Ranks of #1, #2 and #3 have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings. The sell-rated stocks (#4 and #5) should never be considered going into an earnings announcement.

The combination of Geron’s Zacks Rank #3 and 0.00% ESP does not conclusively point to a positive surprise on May 5.

Other Stocks to Consider

Here are a couple of health care companies you may want to consider as our model shows that they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

The Earnings ESP for OvaScience, Inc. OVAS is +6.67% and it carries a Zacks Rank #3. The company is expected to release first-quarter results on May 5.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals JAZZ has an Earnings ESP of +6.11% and carries a Zacks Rank #3. It will be reporting first-quarter results on May 10.

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JOHNSON & JOHNS (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
GERON CORP (GERN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
JAZZ PHARMACEUT (JAZZ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
OVASCIENCE (OVAS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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