5 Top NASDAQ Biotech Stocks: EnteroMedics Takes the Lead

- January 9th, 2017

EnteroMedics leads the list of last week’s lifescience gainers on the NASDAQ, followed by Calithera Biosciences, Halozyme Therapeutics, Immunogen, and Vermillion.

The NASDAQ Biotechnology index (INDEXNASDAQ:NBI) opened the year positively. The index jumped ended the first trading week of the year at 2,930.61 points.
Pharmaceutical companies dominated last week’s top-performers, with 3 out of 5 focused on cancer therapies. Let’s take a closer look at the top five.

  • EnteroMedics (NASDAQ:ETRM)
  • Calithera Biosciences (NASDAQ:CALA)
  • Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ:HALO)
  • Immunogen (NASDAQ:IMGN)
  • Vermillion (NASDAQ:VRML)

EnteroMedics
EnteroMedics is a medical device company with technology focused on obesity and metabolic diseases. Last week, shares jumped when the company announced that its vBloc Neurometabolic Therapy – its treatment for obesity and gastrointestinal disorders – was implanted at two additional institutes, MedStar Health in Maryland and Roper St. Francis in South Carolina.
EnteroMedics gained 188.54 percent last week and finished at $9.19 per share on Friday.
Halozyme Therapeutics 
Halozyme Therapeutics is a cancer-focused biotechnology company that develops therapies that target the tumor microenvironment. Last week, shares soared when the company announced results from Phase 2 of its HALO 202 study for potential treatment of patients with metastatic pancreas cancer.
Halozyme gained 35.43 percent last week and finished at $13.38 per share on Friday.
Calithera Biosciences 
Calithera Biosciences is another cancer-focused biotechnology company, developing small molecule drugs against tumor metabolism. Last December, the company announced a clinical trial collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY). However, there has been no further recent news from the company to explain last week’s rise in share price.
Calithera gained 27.14 percent last week and finished at $4.45 per share on Friday.
Immunogen
Biotechnology company Immunogen is developing targeted cancer therapeutics using proprietary technology. Last December, the company announced results from its Phase 1 expansion — data demonstrated the potential clinical benefit of ImmunoGen’s mirvetuximab soravtansine for the treatment of platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.
Immunogen gained 23.53 percent last week and finished at $2.52 per share on Friday.
Vermillion
Last on our list for this week is Vermillion, a company dedicated to discovering and developing diagnostic and technology tools for women’s gynecologic health outcomes. Shares of the company rose last week when the company clarified an FDA Safety Communication issued on September 7, 2016 that warned women and their physicians against the use of ovarian cancer screening tests for asymptomatic women. Vermillion’s clarification statement said that Jeffrey Shuren, M.D, J.D, Director: Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the FDA, sent a letter to Vermillion on December 21, 2016 which stated, ““We agree that this safety communication does not apply to Vermillion’s FDA-cleared tests.”
Vermillion gained 16.82 percent last week and finished at $1.28 per share on Friday.
Don’t forget to follow @INN_LifeScience for real-time updates!
Data for 5 Top NASDAQ Stocks articles is retrieved each Friday after market close using The Globe and Mail’s market data filter. Only companies with a market capitalization greater than $10 million prior to the week’s gains are included. Companies within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors are considered.
Securities Disclosure: I, Pia Rivera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Below is the list posted on Dec 25, 2016: 
The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (INDEX:NASDAQ:NBI) made gains between December 19, 2016 and December 23, 2016, despite a downward slope mid-week. The index rebounded on Friday, closing 5.59 points higher, or 0.2 percent.
So which companies made the biggest gains? Last week’s top-performers included medical device manufacturers, cancer companies and more. Let’s take a closer look at the top five.

Last week’s top NASDAQ biotech stocks:

  • Clovis Oncology (NASDAQ:CLVS)
  • Fortress Biotech (NASDAQ:FBIO)
  • ChromaDex (NASDAQ:CDXX)
  • Merus Labs (NASDAQ:MSLI)
  • Second Sight Medical Products (NASDAQ:EYES)

1. Clovis Oncology

Clovis Oncology takes the top spot. This company is tackling cancer and has three main product candidates: Rociletinib, Rucaparib and Lucitanib.
The company received early approval for Rucaparib, its ovarian cancer drug, last week. That seems to have triggered significant gains. The stock rose 21.91 percent, closing on Friday at $45.35 per share.

2. Fortress Biotech

Close on its heels? Fortress Biotech. The stock gained 21.54 percent and closed Friday at $2.37 per share.
This biopharmaceutical company works on treatments for autoimmune diseases and cancer. Its business strategy involves acquiring and commercializing therapies from other companies.
Fortress Biotech reported positive data for its MB-101 CAR-T product candidate most recently. However, that press release came at the end of November. There have been no other announcements to explain the stock movement.

3. ChromaDex

ChromaDex develops ingredients for the nutraceutical, skin care and pharmaceutical markets, among others. Year to date, it’s down 19.67 percent, but last week saw the company make up some ground: ChromaDex saw gains of 18.55 percent last week to close on Friday at $2.94 per share.
No major announcements seem to have triggered those gains. The company’s last press release was issued on December 1, 2016, and reported that the company’s CEO would present at the Bernstein Consumer Summit. That took place on December 8, 2016.

4. Merus Labs

With gains of 16.71 percent, Merus Labs ended the week at $0.87. This specialty pharmaceutical company has five main focus areas: oncology support, women’s health, urology, infectious disease and cardiovascular health.
On December 14, 2016 Merus reported its 2016 results. But there has been no other news to explain the recent stock movement.

5. Second Sight Medical Products

Second Sight Medical Products rounds out last week’s top five NASDAQ performers. It gained 15.76 percent to end the week at $2.13.
As the name might suggest, Second Sight focuses on the eyes. Specifically, it’s a medical device manufacturer that develops prosthetics to restore vision.
On December 22, Second Sight announced the UK government will now pay for patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa to be treated with the company’s product, the Argus II Bionic Eye.
“NHS England is known to be under significant financial pressure and also extremely selective in adapting innovative technologies—which must demonstrate sufficient value for money,” said Second Sight’s CEO Will McGuire. “We expect that this decision will be observed throughout the world by other healthcare agencies.”
That prediction may have had something to do with the company’s rising stock.

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The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (INDEXNASDAQ:NBI) got out of the red last week, closing 25.71 points higher on Friday, or a gain of .91 percent. It reached its weekly high during morning trade on December 16, 2016, at a price of $2878.101.
Top gainers included companies in the CAR-T and immuno-oncology space, as well one focused on gene editing. Here were the NASDAQ’s best performers in the life science sector:

Last week’s top NASDAQ biotech stocks:

  • Northwest Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ:NWBOW)
  • Sangamo BioSciences (NASDAQ:SGMO)
  • Kite Pharma (NASDAQ:KITE)
  • Biocryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BCRX)
  • Akorn (NASDAQ:AKRX)

Below, we take a closer look at each company and consider the catalysts behind their stock movement.

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1. Northwest Biotherapeutics

Northwest Biotherapeutics is an immuno-oncology company developing cancer vaccines. It’s actually in the process of voluntarily delisting from the NASDAQ, following the exchange’s rejection of their remediation plan.
Although Northwest Biotherapeutics gained 40 percent last week, shares are down 76.97 percent year to date. Stock price closed at $0.35 on Friday.

2. Sangamo BioSciences

Sangamo BioSciences develops gene therapies for a variety of monogenic and infectious diseases, including Huntington’s and HIV/AIDS. Gains of 14.06 percent saw it close last week at $3.65 per share.
What prompted that rising share price? At the beginning of the month, Sangamo announced new data in its Hemophilia A program, and assured investors it was on track to file a new drug application by the end of the year. It also announced several new leadership appointments. However, there have been no more recent announcements to explain the rising stock price.

3. Kite Pharma

Kite Pharma works in the CAR-T immuno-oncology space, developing therapies for non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and leukemia. On December 13, the company announced a new strategic partnership with Vitruvian Networks. The pair will design software to support the commercialization of T-cell therapies, including Kite’s own lead candidate.
Kite Pharma rose 12.79 percent over the course of the week, ending Friday at $51.76 per share.

4. Biocryst Pharmaceuticals

A close contender for third place, Biocryst Pharmaceuticals gained 12.55 percent last week. Shares closed Friday at $6.19.
The biotech develops small molecule drugs, with a focus on rare diseases. Its lead candidate, BCX735 is intended to treat hereditary angioedema, for example.
The company last issued a press release on November 17, announcing its presentation at the Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference. There have been no recent announcements to explain stock movement.

5. Akorn

Akorn was another company in the photo finish for third place. With gains of 12.47 percent, it just narrowly missed the third and fourth place spots, and closed Friday at $20.92 per share.
Akorn develops prescription and over the counter drugs. It focuses specifically on dosage forms that can be harder to manufacture, like ophthalmics or injectables.
The rally comes after the FDA’s reinspection of its Illinois facility. In June, the first inspection revealed a number of Form 483 deficiencies—or possible violations of several pieces of legislation, like the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. On December 12, Akorn announced that the reinspection yielded no Form 483 deficiencies.
Don’t forget to follow @INN_LifeScience for real-time updates!
Data for 5 Top NASDAQ Stocks articles is retrieved each Friday after market close using The Globe and Mail’s market data filter. Only companies with a market capitalization greater than $10 million prior to the week’s gains are included. Companies within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors are considered.
Securities Disclosure: I, Chelsea Pratt, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
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