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Biotech stocks up in 1Q19 after 2018 losses

Biotech stocks were off to a strong start in 1Q19, with 71% of companies tracked by BioCentury seeing market cap growth in the quarter. Across all market cap bands, biotechs saw a median gain of 15%, leading to a net gain of $183.5 billion.

Large caps valued at $10 billion or more posted a median increase of 6%. Celgene Corp. was the top performer, adding 47% to $66.1 billion on word Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. would acquire the company for about $74 billion in cash and stock, plus a tradeable contingent value right (CVR) worth up to $6.3 billion if FDA approves three Celgene products by specified deadlines (see “Bristol-Myers’ Next Phoenix Act?”).

Only three of the large caps were down for the quarter, with the biggest drop by Biogen Inc., which lost 23% after discontinuing Phase III testing of aducanumab, a mAb against β amyloid, to treat Alzheimer’s disease (see “Biogen’s Lead Balloon”).

The best performing tier was companies valued from $5-$9.9 billion, which saw a median gain of 26%, led by bluebird bio Inc.

bluebird, which added 59% to $8.5 billion in 1Q, started the quarter with a Jan. 7 partnership with Inhibrx

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