The flow of stocks in the pharmaceutical space has proven to be volatile, with many the performance of a company tied to their results of trials or the potential of new discoveries at every corner.
Indeed, it’s been an interesting first quarter for the pharmaceutical sector: US president Donald Trump sent pharma stocks tumbling in March following his comments knocking high drug prices.
In March, Trump gave a speech in Louisville, Kentucky, suggesting that once the healthcare reform is done and Obamacare is repealed, “it will be time to get to work on medicine,” and bring down costs.
“Some people think that’s just as important as healthcare,” he continued.
Still, the outlook for the pharmaceutical industry remains strong.
As such, the Investing News Network takes a look at some of the best-performing stocks in the pharmaceutical sector during the first quarter of 2017.
The list below was generated using The Globe and Mail’s market data filter and shows the TSX-listed pharmaceutical companies with the biggest share price gains from January 1 to April 11. Only companies with market caps above $50 million are included.
Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (TSX:AUP)
Current price: $9.21; year-to-date gain: 225.44 percent
Aurinia is focused on developing therapies to treat specific patient populations suffering diseases with high unmet medical attention. With that in mind, the company’sw lead product is on the right path of success, with the announcement of a successful Phase II FDA trial in December 2016.
The product, called Voclosporin, is slated to enter a Phase III trial in Q2 of 2017, which will be a key factor to Aurinia’s success moving forward. The company has also been in conversations with European and Japanese medical agencies to begin a submission process of Voclosporin.
Fennec Pharmaceuticals (TSX:FRX)
Current price: $5.98; year-to-date gain: 129.12 percent
Fennec is seeking novel cancer therapeutics through the development of Sodium Thiosulfate (STS).
At the end of March, the company announced financial results for the year ended December 31, 2016. Also noted in the release was a key milestone for 2017, which includes results from SIOPEL 6 on hearing efficacy. The release states those results will be announced in Q4 of 2017. The product is meant to find the efficacy of sodium thiosulphate in reducing ototoxicity in patients receiving cisplatin chemotherapy for standard-risk hepatoblastoma.
In a corporate update to investors, Fennec detailed they would use their time in 2017 to prepare for the process of submitting a New Drug Application and a Marketing Authorization Application.
Current price: $5.95; year-to-date gain: 117.15 percent
Theratechnologies is focused on specialty pharmaceuticals, specifically, they want to improve the health conditions in patients with HIV. Their lead product, EGRIFTA, is designed to reduce abdominal fat.
In February, the company presented positive safety data from a 24-week ibalizumab Phase III trial with patients infected with multidrug-resistant HIV-1. “The primary objective of the study was to demonstrate the antiviral activity of ibalizumab seven days after the first dose of ibalizumab,” the statement reads.
The company’s next big news was announced at the beginning of April, wherein it reported its financial results for Q1 of 2017. In particular, Theratechnologies CEO, Luc Tanguay, noted the company is making significant progress towards achieving its business plan objectives.
VBI Vaccines (TSX:VBV)
Current price: $6.60; year-to-date gain: 59.04 percent
VBI describes itself as a commercial-stage company “developing a next generation” of vaccines to address unmet needs in infectious diseases and immuno-oncology. In that regard, the company has an extensive vaccine program with many candidates either entering trials or being developed for one later, including a newly discovered Zika virus vaccine. The company’s first-marketed product Sci-B-Vac is a hepatitis B vaccine that has been approved by over 10 countries.
In February VBI received positive responses on an initial evaluation from the European Medicines Agency and Health Canada in a Phase III clinical study of Sci-B-Vac. The company is aiming to completing that trial and move forward with those two agencies and the FDA.
Current price: $1.05; year-to-date gain: 54.41 percent
Last but not least is ImmunoVaccine. The company has an exclusive fascinating vaccine enhancement platform in DepoVax, which is currently being used to develop clinical-stage cancer vaccines. DepoVax is also being tested for infectious diseases including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and anthrax.
Early in February, the company presented new positive interim data from an ovarian cancer study using DPX-Survivac, surviving-based peptide antigens formulated in the DepoVax platform, in combination with Epacadostat.
On April 12, ImmunoVaccine announced positive data on its Phase 1 clinical trial, which tests the safety and immunogenicity of its Depo-Vax. As such, it should come as no surprise as to why the company’s shares have been on a roll.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.