Top 5 Biotech Winners and Losers of Q1 2016

Top 5 Biotech Winners and Losers of Q1 2016
March 31, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

With the end of 2016’s first quarter just about done, Luke Timmerman of Forbes provides an overview of the five winners and five losers in the biotech market so far this year.

The five companies getting bashed around so far include South Plainfield, N.J.-based PTC Therapeutics (PTCT), Celldex Therapeutics (CLDX), Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (BCRX), Los Angeles-based Puma Biotechnology (PBYI) and South San Francisco’s Portola Pharmaceuticals.

PTC Therapeutics

PTC Therapeutics lost 81.2 percent of its value this year. Most of the drop occurred on Feb. 23, 2016, when the FDA declined to review its application to sell Translarna for patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. traded on Mar. 17, 2015 for $77.53. Shares are currently trading for $6.22.

Celldex Therapeutics

Hampton, N.J.-based Celldex lost value on Mar. 7 when it announced that its Rintega cancer vaccine didn’t meet its primary endpoint and the study was being terminated. Celldex traded on March 19, 2015 for $31.78. They are currently trading for $3.68.

Biocryst Pharmaceuticals

BioCryst has lost 73.5 percent of its value this quarter. It announced a failed drug trial to treat hereditary angioedema (HAE) on Feb. 8. BioCryst shares traded for $16.39 on July 14, 2015. They are currently trading for $2.81.

Puma Biotechnology

Puma’s losses have been more gradual, although it dropped 21 percent this week when it announced it had to delay a new drug application (NDA) for its breast cancer drug until mid-year. Puma traded on April 15, 2015 for $243.02, but is currently trading for $28.47.

Portola Pharmaceuticals

Portola Pharmaceuticals (PTLA) has lost 60.7 percent of its value since the beginning of the year. It announced a failed Phase III trial of its blood clotting drug on March 24. Company traded on Sept. 18, 2015 for $56.90 and are currently trading for $20.49.

On the winners’ side, Timmerman noted San Diego-based MediciNova (MNOV), Finland-based Biotie Therapies (BITI), Cambridge, Mass.-based Editas Medicine (EDIT), Bannockburn, Ill.-based AveXis (AVXS), and Plymouth Meeting, Penn.-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals.


MediciNova’s stock jumped 116.9 percent in the first quarter. It had a lot of good news in the first quarter of this year, although some of it seemed to be about patent designations. However, on Jan. 18 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Rare Pediatric Disease Designation to its MN-166 for Krabbe Disease, and on Feb. 2 it released data from a Phase II trial of the same drug. Most recently, yesterday, it announced the publication of positive data from a Phase Ib trial of MN-166 for methamphetamine dependence. On Aug. 25, 2015, shares traded for $2.94. They are currently trading for $7.44.

Biotie Therapies

Biotie Therapies gained 82.5 percent so far this year, largely because it’s being acquired by Ardsley, N.Y.-based Acorda Therapeutics for about $363 billion. Shares are currently trading for $26.20.

Editas Medicine

Editas rose 71.4 percent this first quarter. It went public on Feb. 3 and currently has a worth of more than $1.1 billion. traded on Feb. 3 for $18.20 and are currently trading for $32.70. The company is working in the new field of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. currently trading for $25.65.


AveXis has risen 41.6 percent since its public offering launched on Feb. 11. It works on gene therapy for muscular atrophy type 1. Company stock traded on Feb. 11 for $18.05 and is currently trading for $25.65.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals

Inovio, which is working on cancer and infectious disease vaccines, has gained 28.4 percent so far this year. Timmerman notes, “The company didn’t appear to do anything newsworthy, although it did issue a press release that said it was able to make a vaccine that stimulated an immune response against Zika virus in mice.”

Inovio traded for $10.60 on April 23, 2015, dropped to $4.92 on Jan. 19, and is currently trading for $8.79.

Keith Speights, writing for The Motley Fool, tried to make sense of Inovio’s rise yesterday, even pointing out that despite scrapping a clinical trial for a human papillomavirus (HPV) drug, INO-3112, to treat cervical cancer, stocks went up. Part of the Phase II study issue is that AstraZeneca , as part of a deal Inovia inked with its MedImmune subsidiary last summer, will be picking up the tab for development costs and they’re going to go ahead with other development plans. The company also has VGX-3100 with very positive results in a Phase II study for cervical dysplasia. He notes, “Unlike many small biotechs, Inovio isn’t a one-trick pony.”

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