Healthcare Business

8 Biotechs Being Choked by Short Sellers


MannKind Corp. (NASDAQ: MNKD) has been a target of short sellers for years now over the long-term disbelief of how widespread and effective inhalable insulin will be. The July 31, short interest was 38.47 million shares (almost 20 days to cover). That may be down from the mid-July figure of 41.33 million shares, the highest short interest since January, but the short sellers that have remained in place here seem convinced that MannKind ultimately has the same value as ashes.

MannKind traded at $1.11, in a 52-week trading range of $0.94 to $3.04. It has a market cap of $207.5 million. The consensus analyst target is $3.00.


Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) came public in 2018, just in time for the late-year market tank. The largest IPO in biotech history offers promises of messenger RNA being used to treat multiple cancers and conditions, and when it came public it sold 26.3 million shares at $23 per share. Its lock-up period has ended so its float is now larger, but the stock had 11.456 million shares short as of July 31. This has been the highest short interest since April, but Moderna shares are now down to $13.33 or so, and that is after having raised more than $2 billion via investments, partnerships and collaborations.

Trading at $13.19, Moderna has a 52-week trading range of $11.54 to $29.79. Its market cap is $4.3 billion, and the consensus target price is $30.19.

Paratek Pharmaceuticals

In 2019, Paratek Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: PRTK) has seen its short interest remain steadily above 10 million shares. Its peak of 10.79 million shares short at the end of May has come down to 10.22 million shares short at the end of July, with nearly 38 days to cover. It also implies that nearly one-third of all outstanding shares are short.

The company’s Nuzyra is a U.S.-approved antibiotic targeting bacterial pneumonia, acute bacterial skin, skin structure infections, and the company is hoping to target urinary tract infections. While Nuzyra is now said to have access to more than 50% of the commercial lives in the United States, its latest net sales increase of 26% was only to $1.7 million in the second quarter of 2019.

Short sellers don’t seem too impressed about its big sales prospects, although the shares have recovered from about $3.10 at the start of August.

Paratek Pharma was trading at $4.43, within a 52-week trading range of $2.87 to $12.20. Its market cap is $143.6 million. The consensus target price is $21.29.

Viking Therapeutics

Viking Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: VKTX) saw its short interest fall to 19.837 million shares by the end of July. While the number of shares short has been in steady decline after peaking at 32.07 million shares in March, this stock has lost nearly one-third of its value since its April highs above $10. The short interest still represents close to 15 days to cover.

Viking Therapeutics was trading at $6.95, in a 52-week trading range of $6.68 to $24.00. It has a market cap of $502.2 million, and the consensus target price is $24.30.