Biotech Week In Review: Biotech Treks Higher

by: Centient Biotech Investor

Biotech moved back to the upside during the last week, gaining back half the ground it lost in the previous week. So far in 2007, the Centient Biotech 200™ has traded higher in four out of five weeks.

Last week, the CBT 200™ rose a net 44 points to end at 4067, a gain of 1.1%. For 2007, the CBT 200™ has climbed 144 points or 3.7%. The index remains just 45 points below its all-time high (about 1%), set two weeks earlier, and it has climbed 15.6% off the July lows.

Breadth was back in line with the advance. There were 149 biotech companies that gained ground, while 66 issues dropped lower, a ratio of 2.3 advancing issues for every declining one. Among companies making big moves, there were 17 biotechs rising 10% or more, while only 2 companies lost that much, which means that there were 8.5 big winners for every big loser.

Once again, the two biggest biotechs, Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) and Genentech (Private:DNA), played a part. Amgen fell 2.9%, a drop that Genentech leavened slightly by gaining 1%, although the net negative effect still put a considerable onus on the index. As a result, the average share of a biotech company (taking away the market cap factor of in the index) moved 2.5% higher. That was much higher than the 1.1% gain of the index and shows the negative effect of big cap biotechs, especially Amgen.

The IPO market continues to show strength. The Molecular Insight (MIPI) IPO was respectable, with the company holding its range and gaining a market capitalization of $344 million (see story). It was not a blow-out, but it shows that a market exists for IPOs of solid companies. From the device side, XTNT (XTNT-OLD) also held its range with a $16 price.

Next week, three biotech IPOs are scheduled: 3SBio (NASDAQ:SSRX), a Chinese biotech (see story), Optimer [OPTR] and Syntaamgn [SNTA]. Unfortunately, all three have been given a Cool or Cold rating on the page. In addition, a device company, Accuray (NASDAQ:ARAY) will also make its debut. At, Accuray is rated Warm. Despite all this activity, no new biotechs made their initial filings for an IPO.

Also, the recent biotech IPOs continued to give a good account of themselves, rising 4.7% last week. Catalyst Pharma (NASDAQ:CPRX) led the list with a 44% increase, and that was after dropping back 17% on Friday. Catalyst received a buy recommendation during the week, and the vote of confidence was enough to get the company almost back to its IPO price of $6. For the week, Catalyst was up $1.75 at $5.70.

On the CBT 200™, the winner was Nymox (NASDAQ:NYMX), which moved 47% higher. Nymox said several companies are interested in NX-1207, a treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia [BPH]. Nymox recently released positive data from a double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II test of the drug. Nymox climbed $1.71 higher to $5.34.

Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ:SGEN) was in second place with a 32% jump. In December, Seattle Genetics signed an $860 million collaboration with Genentech (DNA), a deal that gave credibility to the company’s entire pipeline. Seattle Genetics rose $2.25 to $9.30, making the company worth $475 million.

Sangamo (NASDAQ:SGMO) booked a 28% increase last week. The company is scheduled to report its financials next week, and it received a Parkinson’s disease research award in the previous week from the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Sangamo is involved in the currently hot area of RNA interference. Sangamo ended the week $1.92 higher at $8.79.

Lexicon Genetics (OTCPK:LEXG) shot 21% higher over the previous five sessions. The company announced that it would move LX6171, a potential Alzheimer’s disease drug, from Phase Ia to Phase Ib trials. The company will also shift its focus from genome research and concentrate on developing drugs. Lexicon moved up 68 cents to $3.98.

And, finally, Bioveris (BIOV-OLD) was a 20% gainer. In the previous week, Bioveris announced a deal with Baxter (NYSE:BAX) for vaccines that would protect children from more diseases with fewer injections. Bioveris closed on Friday at $14.13, a gain of $2.32.

Disclosure: none.