Cancer Stocks Plunge Following ASCO Meeting

As they say, “Buy the rumor, sell the news”. Or, was it “Sell in May, and then go away”?

In any event, cancer-related stocks plunged in the week that followed the ASCO meeting in Chicago (June 1-5).

Last week’s huge winner, Novacea (NOVC-OLD), gave back about 1/3 of its gains.

The list below, with data from StockVal, is comprised of domestic companies primarily with market caps in excess of $50mm, ranked by the return this past week.

If the reader believes that there are erroneous inclusions or exclusions, feel free to let me know.


In stark contrast to the prior week’s performance, this past week saw 12 double-digit declines and just three big winners. Overall, the median decline was 2.4%, while the average decline was 3.6%. Relative to the broad market, the group underperformed by 1.7% on average. Leading the way was Digene (DIGE), which received an acquisition offer from Qiagen. IDM Pharma (IDMI), bounced back from a stunningly tough May, with the stock plunging on a negative FDA panel decision. While they replaced their CFO in early May, they lost their CEO at the end of the month. The bounce coincided with some positive news regarding their melanoma vaccine. Finally, Antigenics (NASDAQ:AGEN) rose as partner GSK announced plans to proceed with a Phase 3 trial for a lung cancer vaccine that uses QS-21 Stimulon. This stock has been in the rally mode and appears to be coming out of a consolidation.

Looking at some of the weakest stocks, Telik (OTCQB:TELK) led the way as it detailed failure in clinical trials for its lead drug Telcyta and hit an all-time low. Genvec (NASDAQ:GNVC) pulled back sharply from a multiyear high but remains up big YTD after presenting data on its pancreatic cancer drug. This one is in an uptrend, with support just below 3. Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CTIC) broke to all-time lows after filing a shelf-registration to raise $150mm. Novacea (NOVC-OLD) gave back some of its 84% gain in the prior week. Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN) extended its slide from multiyear highs in early May and is now down about 35%, as investors realized that Avastin rules. Finally, Inovio (NYSEMKT:INO) again made the loser’s list, continuing its decline and busting through the 3.52 level at which is sold stock in May. This one looks way overdone, as it appears the decline is related solely to the recent supply into a tough market.

Disclosure: Long ISRG

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