This Week in Biotech

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

With the SPDR S&P Biotech Index up 33% year to date, it's evident that investment dollars are willingly flowing into the biotech sector. Keeping that in mind, let's have a look at some of the rulings, studies, and companies that made waves in the sector last week.

You might have thought that the week leading up to Christmas would be pretty tame for the biotech sector. In reality, it was a ridiculously busy week filled with both extremely positive and downright awful news.

In the plus column, Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ: HALO  ) shot higher by 27% following news that Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) would be licensing its Enhanze technology. As my Foolish colleague Brian Orelli notes, this technology allows previously IV-only drugs to be injected subcutaneously. The licensing will result in $8 million of upfront payments to Halozyme and could give Halozyme the opportunity to earn an additional $507 million in payments.

Fat-busting drug producer VIVUS (NASDAQ: VVUS  ) also put on a few pounds to the delight of shareholders following conflicting, yet positive, reports from Symphony Health Solutions and IMS Health that Qsymia sales are growing by double digits as of the week ended Nov. 12. A key point I noted earlier in the week is the recent coverage initiated on Qsymia by Aetna (NYSE: AET  ) , which should coerce other insurers to jump on board. 

The results were somewhat mixed for Alexza Pharmaceuticals (UNKNOWN: ALXA.DL  ) , which announced late yesterday that the FDA has approved its Adasuve inhalation powder for the treatment of agitation associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Investors didn't take nearly as kindly to the news after the bell, however, as a safety warning on the box will indicate that the drug has been linked to "bronchospasms and increased mortality in elderly patients with dementia related psychosis." The first few quarters of sales should give us an indication of whether the black box warning is a death knell for Alexza.

And then this happened ...

Shares of Oncothyreon (UNKNOWN: ONTY.DL  ) were slaughtered this week after the clinical-stage company reported late-stage results for its advanced non-small-cell lung cancer drug, Stimuvax. Guessing by the greater than 50% haircut, the results weren't good. In a study of spanning more than 1,500 patients in 33 countries, the drug failed to meet its specified endpoints, although development partner Merck KGaA, which conducted the studies, noted that some subgroups showed "noticeable treatment effects." In short, Stimuvax isn't dead, but any near-term hope for approval certainly is.

Finally, Amicus Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FOLD  ) held true to its stock symbol and folded under pressure. Shares lost more than 50% on the week after its late-stage, six-month, study featuring experimental drug Amigal to treat Fabry disease failed to meet its endpoint. The drug, which was being co-developed with GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK  ) , failed to cut down a targeted type of fat in kidney blood vessels relative to the placebo. 

Is this stock about to slim down?
The ravages of America's obesity epidemic are a challenge of epic proportions. However, a group of drug companies is looking to change everything. Newly approved drugs, including one developed by VIVUS, could help to reverse this deadly course while reaping massive profits for investors in the process. The profit opportunity is immense, but plenty of risks still exist, so make sure you understand the full story behind VIVUS in the Fool's brand-new premium research service. It's such an important story that we have our top health-care writer on the job, so make sure to secure a copy today by clicking here now.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2167178, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/24/2016 3:12:35 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 2 days ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,145.71 -16.64 -0.09%
S&P 500 2,141.16 -0.18 -0.01%
NASD 5,257.40 15.57 0.30%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

12/31/1969 7:00 PM
ALXA.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Alexza Pharmaceuti… CAPS Rating: **
FOLD $7.47 Down -0.10 -1.32%
Amicus Therapeutic… CAPS Rating: ***
HALO $9.40 Down -0.20 -2.08%
Halozyme Therapeut… CAPS Rating: ***
ONTY.DL $1.06 Down -0.02 -1.85%
Oncothyreon CAPS Rating: ****
VVUS $1.10 Down -0.01 -0.90%
VIVUS CAPS Rating: **
AET $111.25 Up +0.32 +0.29%
Aetna CAPS Rating: ***
GSK $41.13 Down -0.30 -0.72%
GlaxoSmithKline CAPS Rating: ***