12:00 AM
 | 
Oct 03, 2011
 |  BioCentury  |  Finance

Launches stratified

Investors still trying to figure out bets on biotech product launches in 4Q11

The dramatic change in sales projections for Provenge sipuleucel-T from Dendreon Corp. on Aug. 2 was a watershed moment for biotech launch stories. Going into 4Q, some investors are still sorting out their bets on the commercialization stories.

Indeed, according to a price-weighted index compiled by BioCentury, the post-approval performance of 21 companies launching their first or second drug in 2010 or 2011 has declined 40% this year (see "Launch Performance").

Some launch companies, like Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., held up better than others on the Dendreon news. These stocks were dinged 17% and 12%, respectively, in the week after Dendreon shelved its sales guidance. But they recovered some ground by quarter end, with Vertex off 14% and Regeneron up 8%.

Another group, including InterMune Inc., Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Human Genome Sciences Inc., took 20-40% hits to already limping share prices and never regained much on the quarter.

Investors initially punished both Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Seattle Genetics Inc. just as severely on the Dendreon news. But both made spectacular recoveries in late August and September as investors reevaluated them.

Optimer was up 103% off of its low in August to finish the quarter up 16%, while Seattle Genetics regained 55% off its bottom to end...

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