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