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Biotech Movers: Affymax Crashes on Recall

But big names like Vivus and Anacor climb double digits


Here’s a look at recent major developments and share moves in biotech stocks:

Affymax (NASDAQ:AFFY): Affymax announced last week that it and Japanese partner Takeda Pharmaceutical (PINK:TKPYY) were pulling back injectable units of its anemia drug Omontys amid news of severe reactions and even death in some patients — news that sent shares crashing by more than 80%. Omontys is Affymax’s sole commercial drug, and MLV & Co analyst added that AFFY “has no pipeline to speak of” in a report downgrading the stock.

MediciNova (NASDAQ:MNOV): MediciNova shares jumped almost 47% last week after receiving an FDA Fast Track designation for ibudilast, a treatment for methamphetamine dependence. The Fast Track designation is given to drugs that treat serious diseases and fill unmet medical needs, and can speed the process of approval; there currently are no FDA-approved treatments for meth dependence. MNOV has no commercial drugs.

Vivus (NASDAQ:VVUS): Vivus — maker of weight-loss drug Qsymia — fell nearly 18% last week after reporting a much wider fourth-quarter loss than in the year-ago period. VVUS lost $56.7 million in Q4 2012 — about five times its loss in Q4 2011 — thanks to higher expenses, including those related to sales of Qsymia. That helped push a full-year loss of $139.9 million compared to 2011’s $46.1 million loss. However, Vivus did record $2 million in sales, vs. zero in the year-ago quarter.

Anacor Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ANAC): Anacor climbed 20% last week after announcing promising results from a Phase 3 trial for tavaborole, a topical treatment for the fungal infection onychomycosis. In a release, CEO David Perry said, “In both Phase 3 trials, tavaborole demonstrated better efficacy than ciclopirox lacquer, the only approved topical treatment for onychomycosis.” In the study, 27.5% of patients achieved a completely clear or almost clear nail, while the drug completely cured the condition in 9.1% of the patients.

Sangamo Biosciences (NASDAQ:SGMO): Sangamo — a biopharma company involved in using engineered DNA-binding proteins to treat several diseases — gained about 15% last week after a Lazard Capital Markets analyst initiated coverage on SGMO with a “buy” recommendation and a $16 target price — roughly 85% higher than last Monday’s closing price. SGMO currently has an HIV/AIDS treatment, SB-728, in Phase 2 trials.

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

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