12:00 AM
 | 
Jan 04, 2016
 |  BioCentury  |  Finance

Big band swing

Biotech winners, losers in 4Q15

Many investors treated biotech's dismal 3Q15 as a buying opportunity, and the effects were apparent in 4Q15. All of the market cap bands showed positive gains save for the microcaps.

Big biotechs led the charge with a 15.7% spike in 4Q15 and ended the year up 7.2%.

Genmab A/S, which graduated into the top tier in 2Q, led the way in 4Q with a 50% gain to close the year with a market cap of $7.8 billion. The company's big year culminated with FDA approval of its Darzalex daratumumab to treat multiple myeloma in November.

For the quarter, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. brought up the rear of the big caps thanks to severed ties with specialty pharmacy Philidor Rx Services LLC and congressional and federal investigations into its drug pricing practices.

The company shed 43% of its value in 4Q15 and ended the year with a market cap of $35 billion. The decline was even sharper before Valeant announced a 20-year distribution agreement with the Walgreen Co. unit of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. That news sent Valeant's shares up 17% the week ended Dec. 18.

The top large cap gainer for the year was Incyte Corp., which was up 48%. The company markets Jakafi ruxolitinib for myelofibrosis, and the drug's strong sales prompted Incyte to raise its full year revenue guidance.

Companies in the $1-$4.9 billion market cap band were the second best performers in 4Q15 with a gain of 10.9%. For the year, the band's 8.7% advance was the sector's best.

Dyax Corp. paced the field in 4Q15 with a gain of 97%. In November, Shire plc announced plans to buy Dyax for $5.9 billion in cash, which was a 35% premium. The driver of the deal is DX-2930 to prevent hereditary angioedema (HAE).

Chimerix Inc. was the worst-performing company in the tier last quarter. Chimerix saw 81% of its valuation disappear on Dec. 28 when its brincidofovir (CMX001) failed to prevent clinically significant cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection through week 24 in hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients in a Phase III trial (see "Turnabout," page 17). Chimerix ended the year with a market cap of $409.9 million, down 77% on the quarter.

For the year, Anacor Pharmaceuticals Inc. led the $1-$4.9 billion group, gaining 250%. Anacor shares jumped 56% on July 13 when its crisaborole (AN2728) met the primary endpoints in two Phase III trials to treat atopic dermatitis.

The $500-$999 million market cap band advanced 3.6% in 4Q15. The move was not enough to put the group into the black for the year. The band ended 2015 down 6.3%.

ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. was the group's best performer in 4Q15. The company's PBI-4050 showed positive results in a Phase II trial to treat Type II diabetics with metabolic syndrome. ProMetic was up 129% in 4Q15 and ended the year with a market cap of $1.4 billion.

Zafgen Inc. was the worst-performing member of the $500-$999 million group in 4Q15 and will start 2016 in a lower tier. The company shed 80% of its value in 4Q15 and ended the year with a market cap of $167 million after FDA placed a complete clinical hold on the company's beloranib (ZGN-440) following the death of a second Prader-Willi syndrome patient receiving the methionine aminopeptidase 2 (MetAP2) inhibitor.

For the year, Galapagos N.V. was the best performing company in the tier. The stock surged 266% and ended 2015 with a valuation of $2.5 billion. The company ended the year by partnering its filgotinib (GLPG0634) with Gilead Sciences Inc. This year, the partners hope to begin Phase III studies of the Janus kinase-1 (JAK-1) inhibitor to treat rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.

In September, AbbVie Inc. declined to exercise its option to license filgotinib.

Like the $500-$999 million group, the $200-$499 million market cap band posted a 4Q15 gain that wasn't enough to put it into the black for the year. The...

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