Shares of Palomar Medical Technologies (PMTI) - which develops light-based systems for cosmetic treatments - soared Friday after the company received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to market an eye wrinkle-removal laser device for home use. The approval means the device - developed with Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Consumer Companies Inc. unit - can be marketed and sold directly to consumers without a prescription.
Meanwhile Thursday's top two biggest gainers became Friday's top two biggest losers. Shares of Novavax, Inc. (NVAX) gave back some of its 74% gains. On Thursday the company's share price soared after an announced deal and evaluation of a virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine candidate against the novel influenza A (H1N1) virus.
Meanwhile, Hemispherx Biopharma's (HEB) shares started the day on Friday as one of the top gainers, yet it ended up as the sector's biggest loser without any solid piece of bad news. Instead share prices were affected adversely after the company was hit twice the same day with negative opinion pieces from Street.com's biotech columnist Adam Feuerstein. The powerful Wall Street portal alleges, among other things, that the company's claims that approval is pending for its chronic fatigue syndrome drug are based on an 8-year-old government report and that CEO, Dr. William Carter is desperately trying to pump up its stock price before the FDA rejects Ampligen.
Missed by most HEB investors were two positive developments. First, Reuters reported that Japan plans to produce enough H1N1 flu vaccine to treat 20 million people by the end of year. The company has been in discussions and testing with that country for some time. “The highest level of the Japanese government and public medical community is now focused exclusively on our product,” Carter told BioMedReports last week. “They stopped working on all other adjuvants (boosters) and are only working with this one because they’ve found that it enhances the vaccines by 100 fold.”
Then Prohost Biotechnology, an independent publication which evaluates biotechnology companies, their products, technologies, scientists and managers, as well as their finances for fund managers, investors, medical professionals issued a report on Friday calling both Hemispherx's Ampligen and Antigenics’ (AGEN) QS-21 Stimulon the two most indispensable vaccine adjuvants. "We need adjuvants and Ampligen is among those whom we really need to have available to infectious disease and oncology specialists" said the report.
Peer-reviewed medical publications, have reported key findings with a view to offering a rationale for the use of Ampligen as a potentially safe adjuvant - one recently published paper from Cardiff Univeristy even surmises that the drug is capable of overcoming tumour-related immune tolerance mechanisms in a clinical setting.
Top Movers In Healthchare Friday 06/06/09
|Gainers (% price change)||Last Trade||Change||Mkt Cap|
|Palomar Medical Tech||PMTI||16.73||+5.77 (52.65%)||301.83M|
|Cutera, Inc.||CUTR||8.90||+1.08 (13.81%)||118.27M|
|NxStage Medical, Inc.||NXTM||4.50||+0.48 (11.94%)||209.48M|
|Incyte Corporation||INCY||3.84||+0.36 (10.34%)||373.79M|
|BioDelivery Sciences Intl||BDSI||6.65||+0.59 (9.74%)||127.90M|
|Losers (% price change)|
|Hemispherx BioPharma, Inc||HEB||2.73||-1.02 (-27.20%)||232.40M|
|Novavax, Inc.||NVAX||2.60||-0.66 (-20.25%)||224.95M|
|Antigenics, Inc.||AGEN||2.23||-0.44 (-16.48%)||162.37M|
|Human Genome Sciences||HGSI||2.82||-0.33 (-10.48%)||382.93M|
|DURECT Corporation||DRRX||2.57||-0.25 (-8.87%)||211.18M|
|Most Actives (dollar volume)|
|Pfizer Inc.||PFE||14.48||-0.16 (-1.09%)||97.71B|
|Merck & Co., Inc.||MRK||26.17||-0.41 (-1.54%)||55.18B|
|Johnson & Johnson||JNJ||55.59||-0.25 (-0.45%)||153.18B|
|Covidien Ltd.||COV||36.01||+0.36 (1.02%)||18.15B|
|Schering-Plough Corp.||SGP||23.80||-0.36 (-1.49%)||38.75B|