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College football arrived in a big way over the past week or so, with plenty of big plays already. Health-care stocks had their fair share of big plays, also -- with some not going so well. Here are three of the worst health-care stocks over the last week.
Untitled letter blues
An "untitled letter" posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on its website sent shares of MiMedx Group (NASDAQ: MDXG ) on a wild ride this week. After plunging by as much as 70%, the stock rebounded to end the week down nearly 32%.
The FDA alleged that MiMedx marketed its micronized injectable wound care products without first obtaining approval as a biologic. MiMedx strongly disagreed with the FDA's opinion and quickly moved to schedule a conference call to discuss the situation. CEO Bill Taylor expressed surprise with the FDA letter, stating that the agency conducted an inspection more than a year ago, and that no issues were identified following the inspection.
While the market reaction to the news was swift and severe, MiMedx reiterated its revenue projections for 2013 and 2014. The company said it is working with the FDA to resolve any issues.
Biopharmaceuticals company Cytokinetics (NASDAQ: CYTK ) saw its stock get clobbered by an all-too-common malady in the world of biotech: disappointing clinical study results. Shares fell more than 18% for the week.
On Tuesday, Cytokinetics and partner Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) announced results from a phase 2 study of omecamtiv mecarbil in treating acute heart failure. The companies said that the primary endpoint of the study, improved dyspnea, or shortness of breath, response, had not been met.
Omecamtiv mecarbil is also being evaluated in another phase 2 study in treating chronic heart failure. Amgen's executive vice president of research and development, Sean E. Harper, M.D, said the results from both studies would be used to determine whether the drug would advance to late-stage clinical trials.
Off-key musical chairs?
Maybe the third time will prove to be the charm for VIVUS (NASDAQ: VVUS ) . The weight-loss-drug company announced its third CEO in less than two months this week. Shares fell more than 12% for the week.
Anthony Zook resigned as CEO of VIVUS effective Tuesday. Zook's departure stemmed from "recurring issues associated with a previously diagnosed medical condition", according to the company. VIVUS already had his replacement lined up. Former Johnson & Johnson executive Seth Fischer has now assumed the helm as CEO.
Initially, the market didn't initially seem very concerned about the musical chairs at the top of VIVUS, as shares closed up a little on the day the CEO change was announced. However, the stock began falling on Wednesday and continued to drop on Thursday.
All three of this week's big losers face real challenges. As always, investors should exercise caution in jumping into these stocks.
However, each could also bounce back. I suspect that MiMedx will square away its problems with the FDA. Cytokinetics still has a shot at success with its experimental heart failure drug. And who knows? Maybe VIVUS' new CEO will help get things going in a positive direction.
Losing a football game doesn't mean the season is ruined. Likewise, one horrendous week doesn't mean a stock is necessarily a bad long-term pick.
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