Many leading funds filed forms 13-D and 13-G (and form 4) with the SEC last week, indicating that they had amended their ownership in U.S. traded public companies operating in the healthcare and technology sectors. The following are the most notable institutional trades based on our analysis of those filings (for more info on Forms 13-D and 13-G, and how to interpret that, please refer to the end of this article):
Affymax Inc. (AFFY): AFFY is a biotech company that is developing a pipeline of synthetic peptide-based drug candidates for the treatment of serious and life-threatening conditions, including for the treatment of kidney diseases. On Thursday, healthcare-focused hedge fund Visium Asset Management filed SEC Form SC 13G indicating that it holds 3.27 million or 9.1% of outstanding shares, a new position for Visium since the end of Q4. Also, at 3.27 million shares, Visium is now the second largest institutional holder of AFFY, behind Fidelity Investments that holds 4.64 million shares.
AFFY shares have been among the strongest small-cap biotech gainers this year, almost doubling YTD. They have been especially volatile recently, up earlier on rumors and then following confirmation that its peginesatide anemia drug for the treatment of anemia in chronic kidney disease [CKD] in adult patients on dialysis, won FDA approval. Although shares have given back almost all of their gains from the $16+ highs they hit almost two weeks ago due to pricing concerns, a number of brokers have expressed optimism, with Baird raising its price target to $17 from $15.
Amarin Corp. (AMRN): AMRN is a clinical stage Ireland-based global pharmaceutical group, which develops novel drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases using its proprietary advanced oral and trans-dermal drug delivery technologies. On Thursday, London-based healthcare focused international investment group Abingworth LLP filed SEC Form 4 indicating that it sold 2.30 million shares for $25.3 million, ending with 5.61 million shares after the sale. Also, earlier on Wednesday, Director James Healy, also a General Partner at Menlo-Park, CA-based venture capital firm Sofinnova Venture Partners, filed SEC Form 4 indicating that he sold 2.0 million shares for $22.0 million, indirectly held by him via Sofinnova Venture Partners VII, L.P., ending with 5.51 million shares after the sale. This is in addition to the sale of 1.0 million shares by Sofinnova that we reported just the prior week.
AMRN shares are consolidating at their highs after spiking higher in the middle of March, prior to and just after the company announced last Tuesday that the USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) published notification of a Notice of Allowance for its '598 patent for AMR-101, a prescription grade omega-3 fatty acid for the treatment of patients with very high triglyceride levels that are at increased risk for developing coronary artery disease. The issuance of the Notice of Allowance is a significant step toward the commercialization of AMR-101, and the street is rife with speculation of partnering possibilities, or even an outright acquisition at a stiff premium to current prices in the $11-$12 range. Furthermore, MKM partners last month reiterated its buy and $20 price target on AMRN.
A123 Systems Inc. (AONE): A123 manufactures rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and battery systems for transportation, utility and consumer markets. On Thursday, New York-based mega fund AllianceBernstein, with over $92 billion in 13-F assets per its latest Q4 filing, filed SEC Form SC 13G/A indicating that it holds 14.85 million or 10.1% of outstanding shares, an increase from the 8.01 million shares it held at the end of Q4. The buy further solidifies its leading position as the largest institutional holder of AONE shares, now well ahead of second place General Electric Co. with 7.37 million shares and third place Vanguard Group with 4.86 million shares.
AONE shares have suffered brutal losses recently, down over 40% after the company announced a recall of its battery modules at the end of last month. It is anticipated that the recall may cost the small $143 million market-cap company over $55 million, while at the same time running the risk of weakening its competitive position. A number of brokers have subsequently downgraded the stock, including Deutsche Bank and Wunderlich, with the latter issuing a Sell rating and a 50c price target.
Other major institutional filings last week in the healthcare and tech sectors included:
- Clovis Oncology Inc. (CLVS), a biotech company developing anti-cancer pharmaceutical drugs, in which healthcare-focused investment firm Aberdare Ventures IV LP filed SEC Form SC 13D indicating that it holds a new 1.30 million share position;
- First Solar Inc. (FSLR), that manufactures and sells solar modules using a thin-film semiconductor technology for residential and commercial markets in the U.S., Europe and Asia, in which Edinburgh-based esteemed investment management firm Baillie Gifford, with over $100 billion in assets under management, filed SEC Form SC 13G/A indicating that it holds no shares, selling out completely of its 6.47 million share position in the company at the end of Q4; and
- Interxion Holding NV (INXN), a provider of carrier-neutral co-location data center services in Europe, in which Baker Communications Fund II, LP, a private equity fund specializing in buyouts, filed SEC Form SC 13G/A indicating it holds 20.72 million or 31.2% of outstanding shares, an increase from the 10.14 million shares it reported holding in an earlier SC 13G filing in February.
Credit: Fundamental data in this article were based on SEC filings, Zacks Investment Research, Thomson Reuters and Briefing.com. The information and data is believed to be accurate, but no guarantees or representations are made.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
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