Biotech Movers: A Doubler for Opexa

by Kyle Woodley | February 11, 2013 8:30 am

BiotechRecap185 Biotech Movers: A Doubler for Opexa[1]Here’s a look at recent major developments and share moves[2] in biotech stocks:

Opexa Therapeutics (NASDAQ:OPXA[3]): OPXA shares nearly doubled last week after it granted a licensing option[4] to Merck Morono — a division of Merck KGaA (PINK:MKGAY[5]), or the “German Merck” — for the development and commercial rights to its trial-stage multiple sclerosis treatment Tcelna. Between fees and milestone payments, Onexa could receive up to $225 million. (Prior to last week’s advance, OPXA was a $7 million market-cap company with no revenues in the past few years.) OPXA vaulted from Monday’s price of $1.21 to as high as $5.19 on Tuesday before closing the day around $3. It then slid further in the week after it announced it would issue more than 1 million shares to raise $3.25 million[6] in a deal expected to close today, but it still finished at $2.39 — almost 95% higher for the week.

Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB[7]): Large-cap biotech Biogen gained more than 4% last week after buying out Elan’s (NYSE:ELN[8]) 50% share in Tysabri, the pair’s billion-dollar multiple sclerosis drug. Biogen will pay out $3.25 billion to Elan[9], as well as future royalties. Biogen says the deal will add 50 cents to 60 cents to adjusted per-share earnings for 2013. ELN shares dropped Wednesday after the announcement, finishing the week down more than 7%.

Hemispherx BioPharma (AMEX:HEB[10]): Hemispherx BioPharma shares took a plunge last Tuesday after its experimental drug Ampligen, meant to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, was rejected by U.S. regulators[11]. Hemispherx said the FDA didn’t think the company had enough data to show Ampligen was safe and suggested additional trials and studies. The company still could appeal the decision. HEB shares slightly recovered after Tuesday’s initial dive, but finished the week down 17%.

Hyperion Therapeutics (NASDAQ:HPTX[12]): Hyperion stock shot up last week on news of the company’s first-ever drug approval[13]. HPTX received word Monday that the FDA had approved Ravicti, which treats urea cycle disorder in patients age 2 and older. Patients with urea cycle disorder are unable to remove ammonia from their blood. HPTX shot up as much as 35% last Monday before sliding back. Shares finished up 17% by Friday.

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BCRX[14]): BioCryst Pharmaceuticals dropped last week after receiving an analyst downgrade from Zacks[15], which dropped BCRX from “outperform” to “neutral” and gave it a $2 price target. That target is shared by Bank of America analysts, which resumed coverage of BCRX[16] with its own “neutral” rating. Worries about BioCryst include multiple project setbacks, a weak current pipeline — BCX4161 and BCX4430, early-stage treatments for hereditary angioedema and hemorrhagic fevers, respectively — and low cash. BCRX ended last week down 13%.

Kyle Woodley[17] is the Deputy Managing Editor of InvestorPlace.com[18]. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Follow him on Twitter at @IPKyleWoodley[19].

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: http://investorplace.com/hot-topics/biotech-movers/
  2. recent major developments and share moves: http://investorplace.com/hot-topics/biotech-movers/
  3. OPXA: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=OPXA
  4. granted a licensing option: http://www.opexatherapeutics.com/020513.html?page=release&section=news&article=020513
  5. MKGAY: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=MKGAY
  6. issue more than 1 million shares to raise $3.25 million: http://www.opexatherapeutics.com/020513.html?page=release&section=news&article=020513
  7. BIIB: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=BIIB
  8. ELN: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=ELN
  9. Biogen will pay out $3.25 billion to Elan: http://www.ibtimes.com/biogen-idec-buy-elans-stake-ms-drug-tysabri-32-billion-1065440
  10. HEB: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=HEB
  11. was rejected by U.S. regulators: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/05/us-hemispherxbiopharma-fda-ampligen-idUSBRE91404320130205
  12. HPTX: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=HPTX
  13. first-ever drug approval: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20130201/Hyperion-Therapeutics-receives-FDA-approval-for-Ravicti-to-treat-urea-cycle-disorders.aspx
  14. BCRX: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=BCRX
  15. analyst downgrade from Zacks: http://www.dailypolitical.com/finance/stock-market/biocryst-pharmaceuticals-rating-lowered-to-neutral-at-zacks-bcrx.htm
  16. resumed coverage of BCRX: http://www.benzinga.com/analyst-ratings/analyst-color/13/02/3300293/update-bank-of-america-resumes-coverage-on-biocryst-phar
  17. Kyle Woodley: http://www.investorplace.com/author/kyle-woodley/
  18. InvestorPlace.com: http://investorplace.com
  19. @IPKyleWoodley: https://twitter.com/#%21/ipkylewoodley

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