Healthcare Business

This Week's Biggest Biotech Movers

Chris Lange

As the biotechnology group is pushing near all-time highs, this past week played host to a huge number of biotech movers. 24/7 Wall St. has picked a few of these standouts to highlight. We have included information about each company, as well as recent trading activity and the consensus analyst price target.

Neon Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: NTGN) shares shot up on Thursday after the firm announced that it will be acquired by BioNTech S.E. (NASDAQ: BNTX). The deal was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both BioNTech and Neon. The transaction, which is expected to close during the second quarter of 2020, is subject to the approval of Neon’s shareholders and customary closing conditions.

Ultimately, this transaction will combine two organizations with a common culture of pioneering translational science and a shared vision for the future of cancer immunotherapy.

This all-stock deal is valued at roughly $67 million. Upon closing, Neon Therapeutics will operate as a subsidiary of BioNTech, a global clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on patient-specific immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and other serious diseases.

Shares of Neon Therapeutics were last seen trading at $1.69, in a 52-week range of $0.88 to $7.51. The consensus price target is $11.17. Over the past week, the stock is up 43%.

Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR) shares were crushed on Wednesday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee did not recommend the company’s pain drug.

The committees met to discuss the New Drug Application (NDA) for oxycodegol (formerly NKTR-181), which is a treatment for chronic pain. Ultimately, they decided not to approve the NDA in consideration of updated policies on opioid analgesics.

As a result, Nektar Therapeutics has decided that it will withdraw the NDA for oxycodegol and make no further investment into the program.

Shares of Nektar Therapeutics closed at $22.48 on Friday. The 52-week range is $15.64 to $47.11, and the consensus price target is $32.85. Over the past week, the stock is down 16%.

Aquestive Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: AQST) shares lost nearly a third on Monday after the firm received an update from the FDA. The long and short of this is that Aquestive’s seizure treatment may get pushed out by another FDA approval.

Essentially, the FDA issued a response letter denying Aquestive’s citizen’s petition that the agency had received in early December. The citizen’s petition requested, among other things, that the FDA stay approval of a New Drug Application for Valtoco submitted by Neurelis until additional clinical studies were conducted.

In the response, the FDA indicated that it had approved Neurelis’s NDA for Valtoco on January 10, 2020. Valtoco received orphan drug exclusivity from the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research commencing as of January 10 for the indication of acute treatment of intermittent stereotypic episodes of frequent seizure activity that are distinct from a patient’s usual seizure pattern in patients with epilepsy six years of age and older.

The FDA stated in the response, when granting exclusivity based on “major contribution to patient care” over and above already approved products for the indication, that the agency believes the intranasal route of administration provides a major contribution to patient care over the rectal route of administration by providing a significantly improved ease of use.

Shares of Aquestive Therapeutics were last seen at $4.10, in a 52-week range of $2.95 to $10.00. The consensus price target is $18.00. Over the past week, the stock is down 26%.

Adaptimmune Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ: ADAP) shares absolutely exploded on Monday after the company announced encouraging responses for its Spear T-cell platform. These results were announced that the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, which has proven to be a huge catalyst for biopharma companies.

The data included two confirmed partial responses, one in a patient with liver cancer and one in a patient with melanoma. There are also two unconfirmed partial responses, one in a patient with gastroesophageal junction cancer and one in a patient with head and neck cancer.

These data further confirm the potential of Adaptimmune’s Spear T-cell platform for patients with multiple solid tumors. The company previously reported showing compelling efficacy with ADP-A2M4 in synovial sarcoma.

Shares of Adaptimmune closed at $4.52 on Friday, after rising 83% for the week. The 52-week range is $0.70 to $6.00, and the consensus price target is $5.50.

Dare Bioscience Inc. (NASDAQ: DARE) shares jumped to start the week after the company announced an exclusive licensing agreement for the U.S. commercial rights to Ovaprene, an investigational hormone-free monthly contraceptive.

Under the agreement, Dare will receive an upfront payment and access to Bayer’s extensive clinical and market capabilities while retaining control over Ovaprene’s development and regulatory approval process.

Bayer receives the right to obtain exclusive rights to commercialize the product in the United States following completion of the pivotal clinical trial being undertaken by Dare. If Bayer, in its sole discretion, makes payment to Dare of $20 million, which Dare intends to apply to reimbursement of clinical study costs, then the exclusive license to commercialize Ovaprene in the United States will become effective. Dare also will be entitled to receive commercial milestone payments potentially totaling $310 million, in addition to double-digit tiered royalties on net sales.

Dare stock ended the week at $1.66 a share, in a 52-week range of $0.69 to $3.25. The consensus analyst target is $4.00.