Some Speculative Biotechs Making Major Moves

Includes: DVAX, OMER, PACB
by: Bret Jensen

It has been a good day so far Wednesday for some speculative small-cap biotech plays. A couple I have highlighted before at much lower levels. Here is the news andcatalysts driving these highflyers.

Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ:OMER) has almost doubled since I profiled it in late August. The clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products targeting inflammation, coagulopathies and disorders of the central nervous system is up another 8% in today's trading and is fast approaching the $10 a share level.

Since I highlighted the shares one month ago, the company has received a couple of positive catalysts that have buoyed its shares. Wedbush raised its price target on OMER from $18 a share to $28 a share last week. Its analyst believes the company will see a substantial increase in its ocular lens solution (OMS302). The company also initiated enrollment in a Phase 2 trial of the PDE10 inhibitor OMS824 in patients with stable schizophrenia.

Omeros seems to be making progress on a variety of fronts and the stock has good momentum here. Even with its recent run almost to the double digits, the stock is still substantially below the median price target of $17 that the six analysts that cover the shares have on OMER. Revenue is projected to ramp up to over $20mm in FY2014 and posting sales of around $2mm this fiscal year. Still feels like the shares have room to run here.

Pacific Biosciences of California (NASDAQ:PACB) is up over 50% in mid-day trading today on its announcement that the company has entered into an agreement with Roche Diagnostics to develop diagnostic products together. The stock is up more than 150% since I highlighted the shares when they were selling just over $2 a share earlier this year. This developer and marketer of an integrated platform for genetic analysis caught my eye due to one insider that made over $1mm in buys late in 2012.

Obviously the deal with Roche is a huge positive and analysts will need to factor in this event within their revenue and earnings estimates going forward. That being said, if an investor was lucky enough to catch this rocket at $2. I would probably take at least half off the table at this point. The stock is now substantially above all analyst price targets (low target: $1.90 a share, high target: $4 a share) at $5.50 a share. The company is still posting losses and no one ever went broke banking a substantial profit.

Long suffering Dynavax Technologies (NASDAQ:DVAX) is up over 6% in mid-day trading as the company revealed Tuesday evening that immunogenicity and safety results from two Phase 3 Heplisav trials were published in Vaccine. Heplisav is meant to treat Hepatitis B. This clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that discovers and develops novel products to prevent and treat infectious and inflammatory diseases seems like a solid speculative play here.

At $1.25 a share, the stock is significantly below the ~$4 a share median price target held by the four analysts that cover DVAX (low target: $1.50 a share, high target: $5 a share). The company also has some $90mm in net cash (~35% of market capitalization) which is over 2 years of funding at current burn rates. Insiders are not selling any shares and I believe the stock makes for a good speculative selection for aggressive investors.

Disclosure: I am long DVAX, OMER. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.