Cancer Stocks on the Go: Winners and Losers

Later this week, the big event of the year for companies trying to treat cancer takes place in Chicago: the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Annual Meeting. Not surprisingly, the universe of cancer stocks performed well in a rather lackluster week for the market.

I recently created a list of companies with market capitalization in excess of $50mm at the beginning of May that derive a significant amount of their market value from cancer-related pursuits. The group includes primarily biotech companies seeking cures, but it also has diagnostic and other types of treatment companies.

I ask the reader to please let me know if there are any omissions or erroneous inclusions. Here is the list, ranked on price performance over the past week:

click to enlarge
cancer 1
cancer 2

As you can see, the median and mean returns were slightly positive despite the pullback in the market. Looking at the extreme moves, there were 7 stocks that rallied in excess of 10%, while 4 fell in excess of 10%. Bioenvision (BIVN) led the way, improving on an increased investment by Soros earlier this month and an article on that blasted the stock through resistance just under $5. Neose (NTEC-OLD) received a milestone payment and gained a new patent. Motley Fool had a nice write-up as well. Cytyc (CYTC) agreed to be acquired by Hologic (NASDAQ:HOLX), which almost made the double-digit-down list. IDM Pharma (IDMI) rose on top of an upgrade from Cantor Fitzgerald. Micromet (NASDAQ:MITI) signed a big deal with Nycomed. Sonus (SNUS) didn’t appear to have any specific news, but the stock is approaching a 3yr-high as it awaits Phase 2 results on a drug that improves upon popular breast cancer treatment, Paclitaxel. Inovio (NYSEMKT:INO) sold 4.5mm shares at 3.52 and provided positive data on one of its drugs under development.

As far as the losers, Vion (OTC:VION) halted a Phase 3 ALL trial, indicating the risks of investing in these speculative companies. Molecular Insight (MIPI) is a recent IPO trading below its initial price of 14. Curis (NASDAQ:CRIS) is down big this month but still positive on the year. The company has reported terminations in development agreements with two companies this month. Finally, Zila (ZILA) was forced by its lenders to replace the Chairman of the Board, who remains the CEO.