3Q Stock Wrap-Up: Make it a double
All biotech tiers up in 3Q13; large caps up 46% on the year
For the second time this year, all market cap segments closed the quarter in the black. Large caps valued at $5 billion and above gained ground for the fifth consecutive quarter. They added 12%, and are up 46% year to date.
Large caps were led by Pharmacyclics Inc., which gained 74% in 3Q13 to $138.26.
In early July, the stock rose after the company submitted an NDA to FDA for ibrutinib to treat hematological cancers. In August, the agency granted the Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk) inhibitor Priority Review with a Feb. 28 PDUFA date.
The stock also was spurred by a late September analyst note in which Deutsche Bank began coverage with a buy rating and a $170 target.
There were only three decliners in the group, the fewest since 3Q12. The losers were Japanese diagnostic company Sysmex Corp., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. All three fell less than 6% in 3Q13.
Celldex Therapeutics Inc. led the $1-$4.9 billion group, posting a 127% gain for the quarter to $35.43. The company got a bump at the beginning of the quarter when it started a Phase I trial of CDX-1135 for membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis.
The majority of the upside came late in the quarter after a Leerink Swann analyst increased his price target to $45 from $28.
NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc. was up 111% in 3Q13, second among the mid-caps. In August, the company reported 2Q13 net Gattex teduglutide sales of $4.8 million, beating the Street's $2.5 million estimate for the short bowel syndrome (SBS) drug. The company also introduced 2013 Gattex sales guidance of $25-$30 million.
In its first full quarter of trading, ReproCell Inc. tumbled 41%, making it the poorest performer among mid-caps. The Japanese stem cell company went public in late June and ended 3Q13 at a 32% discount to its IPO price.
By contrast, a weighted index of Japanese biotechs was up 27% for the quarter.
The top performers in the $200-$999 million group were specialty pharmas Insys Therapeutics Inc. and Orexo AB. In August, Insys reported diluted EPS of $0.26, handily beating the Street's $0.12 estimate.
Orexo closed up 124% on two approvals. Early in the quarter, FDA approved the Swedish biotech's Zubsolv buprenorphine/naloxone for maintenance treatment of opioid dependence. Orexo launched the drug in September.
GTx Inc. was the laggard in the $200-$999 million segment, closing down 69%. The company tumbled after its enobosarm failed in a pair of Phase III trials to prevent and treat muscle wasting in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) receiving chemotherapy.
In July, BioCryst announced positive Phase I data for hereditary angioedema (HAE) compound