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While many American skies were lit up with fireworks this week, the stock market also saw its share of pops, sizzles, and bangs. Here are three health-care stocks that skyrocketed over the past five days.
Nothing like being wanted
Onyx Pharmaceuticals (UNKNOWN: ONXX.DL ) experienced the thrill of being wanted this week. Shares soared nearly 57% this week after word leaked last weekend that Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) offered to buy the company for $120 per share.
By Sunday, Onyx had announced that it was rebuffing Amgen's offer as too low. The company also revealed that other third parties had expressed interest in a potential buyout. As a result, Onyx authorized financial advisor Centerview Partners to line up potential suitors.
Mr. Market certainly liked the prospects of a bidding war. During after-hours trading on Friday, Onyx share prices jumped from $87 to $109. The stock opened on Monday at more than $133 per share. How high can Onyx go? Deutsche Bank analyst Robyn Karnauskas pegs the stock's value at $148 per share. However, Geoffrey Porges at Sanford C. Bernstein thinks some company could pay as much as $180 per share for Onyx.
Celldex Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CLDX ) benefited from a couple of "buy" recommendations this week. Many investors appeared to have listened to the advice -- shares jumped 36% for the week.
Jim Cramer responded to a caller's question about Celldex in his Tuesday "Lightning Round" by saying: "I like this one and I'm sticking with it." Cramer wasn't the only one saying that the stock was a buy. The next day, Guggenheim initiated coverage on Celldex with a "buy" rating and target price of $24 per share.
Celldex's lead drug candidate is rindopepimut, which is in a phase 3 study for treating front line glioblastoma and in another phase 2 study for recurrent glioblastoma. The biotech also has several other drugs in its pipeline, including CDX-1135, for which Celldex just kicked off a pilot study in treating dense deposit disease.
Good news comes in threes
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY ) had a triple-whammy of good news this week. Shares shot up by 22% as a result.
The company reported positive results from its phase 2 study of ALN-TTR02 at the beginning of the week. The experimental drug, which targets treatment of TTR-mediated amyloidosis, showed a 93% knockdown of circulating wild-type and mutant transthyretin, or TTR, genes. These mutant genes cause abnormal amyloid proteins to damage organs and tissue, resulting in progressive debilitation and ultimately leading to death. This good news led Piper Jaffray to raise its price target on Alnylam from $36 to $42 per share. Even with this week's nice bump, that target still represents another 11% upside.
Alnylam's other piece of good news stemmed from pre-clinical data from its RNAi therapeutic program for the treatment of hemophilia and rare bleeding disorders. Experimental drug ALN-AT3 showed promise in treating hemophilia. The company plans to start a phase 1 study later this year.
Which of this week's humongous stocks looks most likely to sustain an upward trajectory? Any or all of the three could keep advancing. I like Celldex and wouldn't be surprised if it ultimately gains the interest of acquirers. Alnylam has solid potential as well.
Perhaps the potential pop with the shortest fuse, though, is in Onyx. Look for a sale of the company in the near future for around $150 per share, if not more. That represents a 10% upside from current levels in what should be a relatively quick time frame. More fireworks could be in store soon.
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