Xenon Pharma, ChemoCentryx lead weekly healthcare gainers; Prelude, Allogene trail

Oct. 08, 2021 9:40 PM ETCellectis S.A. (CLLS), CCXI, ALLO, CDXSBMY, XENE, MRUS, ADGO, NKTX, PRLDBy: Dulan Lokuwithana, SA News Editor

Bullish And Bearish Markets

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  • While the S&P 500 index eked out a ~0.8% gain over the week, its healthcare constituents slipped ~0.3% to record the fifth consecutive weekly loss. Dragged down by biotech stocks, the sector became the second-worst performer in the index.
  • Among healthcare stocks with more than $300M market capitalization and over 100K average daily volume over the past five sessions, Xenon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:XENE) led the gainers after reporting positive results from a mid-stage trial for its focal epilepsy candidate.
  • The Phase 2b X-TOLE study for XEN1101 met the primary endpoint indicating statistically significant and dose-dependent decline in monthly focal seizure frequency compared to the placebo, Xenon (XENE) said, sparking ~110.6% gain over the week.
  • ChemoCentryx (NASDAQ:CCXI) closely followed, leading a late rally to close ~109.0% higher for the week on FDA approval of its ANCA vasculitis candidate TAVNEOS (avacopan), which, according to Piper Sandler, came as a “positive surprise.” Ahead of the FDA decision, Seeking Alpha contributor Edmund Ingham predicted less than 50% chance for the treatment to get the regulatory nod.
  • Data readouts at a key industry conference — AACR-NCI-EORTC Virtual International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics — moved some biotech stocks this week, including Merus N.V. (NASDAQ:MRUS).
  • The clinical-stage oncology company jumped ~27.7% thanks to interim data released for its tumor candidate MCLA-158 as monotherapy in a Phase 1 trial involving patients with advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Meanwhile, Codexis (NASDAQ:CDXS) extended gains to rise ~23.3% over the week amid hopes that it could benefit from the production of Merck’s (NYSE:MRK) much-anticipated COVID-19 pill, molnupiravir.
  • Rounding out the top five gainers, recently IPO’d Adagio Therapeutics (OTCPK:ADGO) gained ~22.7%. The developer of COVID-19 antibody therapies was among the worst performers last week after Merck (MRK) released promising data for its coronavirus pill.
  • Turning to the worst performers, Prelude Therapeutics (NASDAQ:PRLD) dominated with a decline of ~50.0%. Prelude (PRLD) shares reached a 52-week low as the company disclosed data from several of its pipeline programs at the AACR-NCI-EORTC event, including the results from ongoing Phase 1 trials for lead oral PRMT5 inhibitors PRT543 and PRT811.
  • A setback for the company’s allogeneic CAR T program sent the shares of Allogene Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ALLO) ~46.5% lower over the week. The FDA placed a hold on the company’s AlloCAR T clinical trials after detecting a chromosomal abnormality in a patient who received ALLO-501A CAR T cells in its ALPHA2 study.
  • Meanwhile, Nkarta (NASDAQ:NKTX) shed ~32.7%, driven by an extended timeline estimated for the company’s Phase 1 trial for NKX101 in blood cancer. The stock reached a 52-week low on Friday as the company now expects the data readout to happen in H1 2022, leaving it without a year-end catalyst, according to Mizuho analyst Salim Syed.
  • Despite a series of developments over the week, Turning Point Therapeutics (NASDAQ:TPTX) closed ~29.1% lower as the biotech disappointed analysts with its early Phase 2 data for TPX-0022 (repotrectinib and elzovantinib) in patients with non-small cell lung cancer ("NSCLC").
  • Meanwhile, Cellectis (NASDAQ:CLLS), whose TALEN gene-editing technology was licensed by Allogene (ALLO) for the development of allogeneic T cell product candidates, crashed ~28.2% to round out the worst performers of the week.

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