The 2012 biotech story has been nothing short of exciting. The stats and stories are everywhere. The Nasdaq biotechnology ETF (IBB) is up over 20% YTD. The SPDR biotech ETF (XBI) is up nearly 27% YTD. Even the non-investor has by now heard of the anti-obesity darlings Vivus (VVUS) and Arena (ARNA). Biotech, like Carly Rae Jepsen's song Call Me Maybe and zombies, is pervasive in culture at the moment. While this level of fervor is likely fleeting, what can a long term investor take away? Are the sector gains a flash in the pan or could investments in key players bring long term gains? Like a summer romance, most are forgotten in September. Which of these stocks recently flirting with market gains and attention offer the real-deal long term?
Rosetta Genomics (ROSG) - Rosetta Genomics is up over 47% to $13.87 on news that it has named Roy Davis, former president of Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) venture capital group. The company has seen summer love with astronomical gains and is up over 70% in the last month. Previous gains have been attributed to the Medicare approval of its MiRview mets2assay test which genetically identifies 42 different tumor types. After a more than half-million-share offering at a discounted price drove share price down nearly 20% at the end of May, the stock has experienced a rollercoast ride of a rebound.. An earnings date of June 20th may shed more light as to whether investors should embrace the tic up or prepare for a dip on the ROSG ride.
Arena Pharmaceuticals - It is the summer of love for weight loss drug hopeful Arena Pharmaceuticals. Arena is up 12% to $9.47 on extremely high volume leading into June 27th FDA decision on lorcaserin. Naturally, attention is heavy towards this stock and investors are quite certain of its pending approval. Volatility and volume are almost guaranteed leading up to June 27th. An investment in ARNA now may be a day late and a dollar short with the share price exceeding price targets and analysts leaning towards a hold rating. Don't begrudge ARNA's long investors in their zealous optimism heading into the dance with the FDA; just be cautious in seeking an entry point in this biotech Cinderella story.
TrovaGene, Inc. (TROV) - The $52 million market cap molecular diagnostic company is up 13% to $3.68 just days after it rang the closing bell at the NASDAQ June 14th. The company has a unique angle, complete with patents, on diagnosing cancer through urine samples as opposed to biopsies. With the $6.2 billion molecular diagnostics market hot right now and supported by solid medical need, this company looks to have room to move upward. June 7th the company released its plans to collaborate with Strand Life Science to offer urine based HPV carrier screening for males. Further, its pipeline K-RAS mutation pancreatic cancer diagnostic holds potential for arming the medical community with advance detection for individuals and a better fighting chance with treatment. Not yet generating revenue, an investment is still speculative, but a solid management derived from cancer specializing Sequenom (SQNM) former players helps. Positive attention from the market, the medical community and the likes of James Altucher make this summer diamond-in-the-rough a potential long term companion for investors.