5 Top NASDAQ Biotech and Pharma Stocks: Neoleukin Up 98 Percent

- December 15th, 2019

Which biotech and pharma stocks were on the rise last week? We list the top gainers and what may have moved their share prices.

The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (INDEXNASDAQ:NBI) had a turbulent week, starting at 3,788.38 points on Monday’s (December 9) open and reaching a five day high of 3,808.32 points on Friday (December 13) as of 10:30 a.m. EST. However, as of 12:00 p.m. EST Friday, the index was sitting at 3,785.62 points.

Over the course of the five-day trading period, a number of small- and mid-cap biotech and pharma stocks made significant share price increases, including:

  • Neoleukin Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NLTX)
  • CTI BioPharma (NASDAQ:CTIC)
  • Assertio Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ASRT)
  • NantKwest (NASDAQ:NK)
  • Aptose Biosciences (NASDAQ:APTO)
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Here’s a closer look at those companies and what may have moved their share prices.

Neoleukin Therapeutics

Neoleukin Therapeutics is currently working to advance its lead product, NL-201, as a cancer immunotherapy. The drug is intended to be used as a single component or it can be combined with complimentary therapies. NL-201 has shown it can work together with allogeneic cell therapy in CAR T and NK cells.

Over the last week, Neoleukin didn’t have any notable announcements, although its share price rose over 98 percent to US$8.16 as of 12:54 p.m. EST on Friday.

CTI BioPharma

CTI BioPharma is developing its lead product candidate Pacritinib to treat myelofibrosis, which is a type of bone marrow cancer affecting the production of blood cells.

On Monday, CTI BioPharma announced it had presented data from its PAC203 Phase 2 clinical trial of Pacritinib in patients with myelofibrosis with severe thrombocytopenia at the American Society of Hematology Meeting. According to the presentation, the data indicated that Pacritinib has the “potential to be an important therapy for severely thrombocytopenic myelofibrosis patients.”

Shares of CTI BioPharma rose 77.41 percent last week to US$1.50 as of 1:12 p.m. EST on Friday.

Assertio Therapeutics

Assertio Therapeutics’ areas of focus include neurology, orphan drugs and specialty therapies. It has three products in different stages of development to treat acute pain and acute migraine attacks as well as diagnose adrenal insufficiency.

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On Thursday (December 12), the company announced it entered into a US$12.5 million agreement with Alvogen, which will acquire all responsibilities tied to Assertio’s product Gralise. The deal is expected to close in January 2020.

As a result, shares of Assertio Therapeutics rose 66.95 percent over the week to US$1.17 as of 1:21 p.m. EST on Friday.


Developing treatments for cancer, infectious diseases and inflammatory conditions, NantKwest’s Natural Killer platform aims to kill cancer cells and virally infected cells.

The company has a robust pipeline, with its therapeutic candidates in clinical trials to treat conditions such as breast cancer, Merkel cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, leukemia and solid tumors.

That being said, NantKwest didn’t have any news last week, although its share price rose 62.47 percent to US$2.68 as of 1:32 p.m. EST on Friday.

Aptose Biosciences

Finally, Aptose Biosciences is working in treatments for hematologic malignancies such as acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and a range of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.

On Monday, Aptose Biosciences announced preclinical data for its CC-806 candidate at the American Society of Hematology Annual meeting, discussing its method for targeting CLL cells and its effect on ibrutinib-resistant mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) cells.

“Our data indicate that CG-806 not only induces apoptosis in CLL cells, but also targets the microenvironment and rescue pathways that lead to resistance or refractory disease,” William Rice, CEO of Aptose Biosciences, said in the release. “CG-806 also was shown to be more potent than ibrutinib to induce apoptosis in both CLL and MCL cells.”

Over the five day trading period, shares of Aptose Biosciences rose 60.16 percent to US$4.09 as of 1:42 p.m. EST on Friday.

Data for 5 Top NASDAQ Biotech and Pharma Stocks articles is retrieved each Friday at 1:00 p.m. EST using TradingView’stock screener. Only companies with a market capitalization greater than US$50 million and lower than US$500 million prior to the week’s gains are included. Companies within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors are considered.

Don’t forget to follow us at @INN_LifeScience for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Life Science and Healthcare Investing in 2021

The life science and healthcare market is a booming, multi-billion dollar industry. Read our 2021 life science outlook report!

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