Biotech Movers: Dendreon Pops, ArQule Drops

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

Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN): Dendreon cruised 21% higher last Friday after an analyst from Sanford C. Bernstein upgraded the stock to “outperform,” citing increased optimism about Provenge, a prostate cancer drug. The analyst talked to doctors who prescribe Provenge, and most said they plan to prescribe it even more. They’re suggesting others do so, too. The analyst raised his price target on DNDN from $7 to $10, nearly double its price at last Thursday’s close. The shares finished at $6.14 on Friday.

ArQule (NASDAQ:ARQL): A mid-stage trial failure of a colorectal drug developed by both ArQule and Japanese pharmaceutical giant Daiichi Sankyo sent ARQL shares down more than 11% on Friday. The company’s drug, tivantinib, failed to meet its primary goal of improving survival rates without the cancer growing, nor was it able to show a statistically significantly better response rate. Tivantinib also is being tested for use in other cancers.

Idenix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IDIX): Idenix fell 13% last week amid news that the Food & Drug Administration would need more time to review the safety of experimental hepatitis C drugs IDX184 and IDX19368, which previously were put on hold after the FDA discovered problems with a similar drug being developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY). At the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, CEO Ron Renaud said the company was executing a “semi-reset” with the two drugs.

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PPHM): Peregrine shares surged 82% last Monday after it announced that a previous mixup corrupting test data for its lung cancer treatment bavituximab was limited to only its lower dose of 1 mg/kg. That mishap sent shares from a high above $5 to below $1 in just about a week in fall 2012. Its higher dose — 3 mg/kg — showed considerable progress, with patients surviving a median of 13.1 months. PPHM shares slid back by week’s end, but still tallied a 55.5% gain in five days.

Optimer Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:OPTR): Optimer finished last week up 11%, thanks to an early-week boost fueled by positive U.S. and Canadian sales of its antibacterial drug Dificid. It brought in $21.3 million for the fourth quarter and $74.4 million for all of 2012. Dificid had recorded sales of $24.4 million between its July 2011 launch and the end of that year.

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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