Healthcare Business

Thursday's Biggest Biopharma Winners

Chris Lange

The health care sector was in trouble over the past year, coming under fire from congressional hearings and politicians on the campaign trail. At first 2017 seemed like it could be different for this sector, but after President-elect Trump’s recent comments that this industry was “getting away with murder,” the future is uncertain. In Thursday’s trading session health care stocks were somewhat muted, but a few bucked this trend.

24/7 Wall St. has picked out some of the biggest moves in the sector that stood out from the rest on Thursday. We have included information about each company, as well as recent trading activity and the consensus price target.

Cellect Biotechnology Ltd. (NASDAQ: APOP) reported that it received a formal notice from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regarding its method of treatment for immune related disorders. Basically, the USPTO gave a “notice of allowance” which broadly means the agency intends to issue a patent approval. The treatment method relates to the engineering of regulatory immune cells with enhanced apoptotic activity used for the treatment or prevention for the unmet needs seen in type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, graft versus host disease, and transplant rejection.

Shares of Cellect were last trading up over 105% at $6.85, with a consensus analyst price target of $10.00 and a 52-week trading range of $2.30 to $8.78.

In the January 2017 edition of the American Journal of Sports Medicine, Histogenics Corp. (NASDAQ: HSGX) was mentioned as well as data from its Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials of NeoCart for the repair of articular cartilage injuries in the knee.

The long and short of the matter was that analyses indicated significant improvement in the cartilage quality from 3 to 24 months, with stabilization and maturation from 24 to 60 months. MRI analysis also demonstrated that NeoCart repair tissue was durable and evolved over time. Results from the two studies indicated that NeoCart is a safe and effective treatment for articular cartilage lesions through 5-year follow-up.

Shares of Histogenics were recently trading up nearly 12% at $1.70. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $5.70 and a 52-week trading range of $1.39 to $4.47.

Immunomedics, Inc. (NASDAQ: IMMU) saw its shares rise after the firm sent out a letter to shareholders imploring them to vote for its director nominees at the upcoming annual stockholders meeting on February 16. The board of directors is making this request because it is currently waging a proxy contest with venBio SelectAdvisor.

Essentially, the board is saying that venBio with its campaign and demands, are overall detracting from strategic progress within the company. Specifically, the board believes that this would delay the critical filing of its Biologistics License Application (BLA) for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of IMMU-132. The board further asserts that this would destroy the investment value in the company.

Shares of immunomedics were last trading up about 7.5% at $3.85, with a 52-week trading range of $1.61 to $5.44.

BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (NASDAQ: BVXV) reported that the scientific journal “Vaccine” published an article citing results from its flu vaccine. The “Vaccine” article, “Back to the future: Immunization with M-001…,” reports that blood plasma samples from people who received M-001 in 2011 (as part of BiondVax’s BVX-005 clinical trial in the elderly) showed significantly increased protective antibodies against the new epidemic 2014/15 flu strain (A/Swiss) – a strain which did not exist when M-001 was administered to the BVX-005 participants.

Despite the $4.3 billion market, current flu vaccines have many shortcomings including that they are specific to just 3 or 4 existing flu strains, and must be reformulated each year. Furthermore, seasonal flu vaccine effectiveness is only about 40% on average. Conversely, as a universal flu vaccine candidate, M-001 is designed to provide improved and broad protection against all current and future seasonal and pandemic flu strains.

Shares of BionVax were recently trading up 8.6% at $4.07, with a consensus analyst price target of $15.00 and a post-IPO trading range of $3.04 to $7.40.