Healthcare Business

Biotechs Bucking The Dendreon Trap & Curse (DNDN, VRTX, VVUS, ARNA, ALNY, AMGN, SVNT)

When we issued our earnings previews for the week ahead, it looked as though Dendreon Corporation (NASDAQ: DNDN) had a chance of really setting the trend for the entire biotech sector this week.  That was before the great news from Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VRTX) drove the interest for two days.

Dendreon Corporation (NASDAQ: DNDN) said that its total revenue rose almost 200% to $82 million, but that is almost in-line and shows no upside surprise for PROVENGE sales.  Despite still having some $559 million in cash and near-term liquidity, a drop of 21% to $9.17 is really not hurting the overall biotech sector anywhere close to as much as we feared it would.

VIVUS Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) is weak after earnings as well as the loss was wider than expected, but it now has some of $333.4 million in cash and short-term now that it raised cash via a secondary offering.  This is still in a holding pattern as the current Qnexa NDA final decision is still out to about July 17, 2012.  A surprise mover to the upside is Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) with a rally ahead of its FDA meeting for lorcaserin as a weight-loss pill.  Arena shares are up 15% at $3.14 against a 52-week range of $1.23 to $3.47 and the current market cap is $571 million.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VRTX) was up so much on Monday that you would have thought it was a takeover stock rather than a cystic fibrosis drug test that caused the pop.  Shares were up huge on Monday and Tuesday is seeing another day of bucking the trend as shares are up 5.3% at $61.20 at yet another 52-week high.  Its market cap is now magically almost $13 billion.  So far on Tuesday we have seen the following analyst rating changes: Raised to Equal-weight at Morgan Stanley; Raised to Outperform at Wells Fargo; and Raised to Buy at Needham.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY) is one of the upside exception today as J.P. Morgan initiated coverage with an Overweight rating.  Shares are up almost 5% at $10.44 against a 52-week range of $5.88 to $13.75.

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) is a mix somewhere between biotech and pharma and it is following the defensive stocks today with a gain of 0.6% to $70.04 against a 52-week high of $72.00.  That new 2.1% dividend yield is offering some cushion it appears.

Savient Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: SVNT) shows that investors will reward emerging pharma players merely for reaching agreements with creditors,  This stock is up 19% at $1.855 on only 2 million shares after it reached an agreement with some creditors to restructure a portion of its debt in a move anticipated to bring the equivalent of $44 million.  Its market cap is $131 million and the $1.86 compares to a 52-week range of $1.26 to $9.14.