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 tumultuous week, dipping from 3,330.51 points on Monday (August 19) to 3,257.94 points at 12:22 p.m. EDT on Friday (August 23).

On Monday, Nabriva (NASDAQ:NBRV) notched its first approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its antibiotic to treat community-acquired bacterial pneumonia. The approval for the company’s drug, Xenleta, was the first of its kind from the FDA in roughly 20 years.

Shares of the company spiked by as much as 27 percent following the news to hit US$2.75 on Tuesday’s (August 20) open. By Friday at 12:32 p.m. EDT, however, the company’s share price had dropped more than 26 percent since the announcement to US$2.01.

The five top small- to mid-cap biotech and pharma stocks on the NASDAQ last week are as follows:

  • Ardelyx (NASDAQ:ARDX)
  • Menlo Therapeutics (NASDAQ:MNLO)
  • Oncternal Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ONCT)
  • Atreca (NASDAQ:BCEL)
  • Lipocine (NASDAQ:LPCN)

Here’s a closer look at those companies and what may have moved their share prices over the week.


Ardelyx’s area of focus is on developing therapies for people with cardiorenal diseases, which include kidney and heart conditions. The company’s pipeline includes a Phase 3 treatment, called tenapanor, for hyperphosphatemia in those who have end-stage renal disease.

Ardelyx has also finished a Phase 3 trial of tenapanor in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. The treatment has been submitted to the FDA as a new drug application; it is expected to be completed on September 12, 2019.

While the company had no announcements last week, its share price had climbed 41.26 percent to US$3.45 as of 12:58 p.m. EDT on Friday.

Menlo Therapeutics

Menlo Therapeutics is currently working on developing its serlopitant receptor antagonist to treat pruritus, which is a condition that causes the urge to scratch skin. It can be a chronic or acute condition.

Serlopitant is currently in two Phase 3 trials for pruritus and has a planned Phase 3 program for the condition coupled with psoriasis. An ongoing Phase 2 trial is also underway for chronic pruritus.

The company had no announcements last week. Despite the lack of news, its share price rose 40.64 percent to reach US$4.74 as of 1:37 p.m. EDT on Friday.

Oncternal Therapeutics

Oncternal Therapeutics has a specific focus on developing treatments for patients with cancer who have unmet clinical needs.

Like other companies on this list, Oncternal Therapeutics had no announcements last week that could relate to its share price increase. Over the five day trading period, shares of the company rose 37.89 percent to settle at US$5.90 as of 2:21 p.m. EDT on Friday.


Atreca is developing immunotherapeutics to target solid tumors. Through its Discovery Platform, the company is working on a range of antibody-based therapeutics for cancer patients.

Atreca didn’t have any announcements last week, but it rose 33.75 percent over the period to sit at US$22.33 as of 2:27 p.m. EDT on Friday.


Lipocine is focused on metabolic and endocrine conditions. Endocrine diseases include diabetes, thyroid cancer, Addison’s disease and Cushing’s syndrome, to name a few.

The company has four programs in clinical development: Tlando, which aims to restore testosterone levels in hypogonadal men; LPCN 1144, which is for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; TLANDO XR (LPCN 1111), which is an oral testosterone product; and LPCN 1107, which is a drug candidate that has been indicated for recurring pre-term birth. It has been awarded orphan designation by the FDA.

Lipocine had no announcements last week that relate to it share price hike. Over the week, shares of Lipocine were up 28.42 percent to US$2.83 as of 2:47 p.m. EDT on Friday.

Data for 5 Top NASDAQ Biotech and Pharma Stocks articles is retrieved each Friday at 1:00 p.m. EDT 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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