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Biotech Stock Roundup: Clinton's Tweet Shakes Biotech Stocks, Amgen In Pipeline-Boosting Deals

Biotech stocks were hit hard by Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's tweet about the pricing of drugs. Clinton's tweet about "price gouging" overshadowed all other developments in the biotech sector over the last five trading days.

Recap of the Week's Most Important Stories

1. Hillary Clinton's tweet on Monday regarding high drug prices spooked biotech investors and resulted in the NASDAQ Biotechnology index shedding 4.41% in just one trading session. Clinical-stage biotech stocks as well as companies with marketed products were affected by the presidential candidate's vow to fight drug pricing (Read more: 5 Biotech Stocks Hit Hard by Hillary Clinton's Tweet ). Companies like Juno JUNO , which are still in the development stage, saw their share prices dipping reflecting concerns that their treatments, once approved, could be subjected to price control.

2. Amgen AMGN was in the news last week thanks to a couple of deals signed by the company with the intention of boosting its pipeline. Amgen said that it will be acquiring privately-held, Netherlands-based biotech company, Dezima, which is focused on developing treatments for dyslipidemia. Once the acquisition goes through, an oral, once-daily CETP inhibitor currently in mid-stage development will be added to Amgen's cardiovascular (CV) pipeline. Amgen has been building up its presence in the CV disease market and recently gained approval for two important products - Corlanor and Repatha (LDL-C lowering PCSK9 inhibitor).

The acquisition, slated to close later this year, could see Amgen shelling out up to $1.55 billion plus royalties. Meanwhile, Amgen also signed up with Xencor for the development of cancer immunotherapy and inflammation treatments (Read more: Amgen to Acquire Dezima Pharma, Strikes Deal with Xencor ).

3. Gilead GILD continues to show why it has such a strong presence in the hepatitis C virus (HCV) market. The company came out with positive late-stage data from four studies (ASTRAL-1, ASTRAL-2, ASTRAL-3 and ASTRAL-4) evaluating a once-daily, fixed-dose combination of Sovaldi (a nucleotide analog polymerase inhibitor) and velpatasvir (a pangenotypic NS5A inhibitor) for the treatment of genotype 1-6 chronic HCV infection. Approval would make this combination the first all-oral pan-genotypic single tablet regimen for chronic HCV. The company plans to file regulatory applications in the U.S. and EU in the fourth quarter (Read more: Gilead Unveils Encouraging HCV Data on Sovaldi/Velpatasvir ).

4. Intra-Cellular's ITCI shares shot up on positive top-line data on one of the doses (60 mg) of ITI-007 tested in a late-stage study for schizophrenia. ITI-007, the company's lead pipeline candidate, is currently in another phase III study (Read more: Intra-Cellular Up on Positive Data from Schizophrenia Study ).

5. TRACON TCON also saw its shares soaring on data from a single patient compassionate use mid-stage study on a 37-year old woman with persistent and unresectable metastatic choriocarcinoma, an aggressive form of gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN). The company is now planning to start a phase II study in the fourth quarter in patients with GTN (Read more: TRACON Skyrockets on Positive Choriocarcinoma Study Data ).

Performance

All major biotech stocks were down over the last five trading days with the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index declining 6.1% during this period. Meanwhile, Biogen BIIB lost 27.7% over the last six months with Regeneron REGN being the highest gainer (23.5%) during this period (See the last biotech stock roundup here: Biosimilar Competition for Amgen, Tetraphase Hit By Disappointing Data ).

Company Last Week Last 6 Months
AMGN -4.08% -5.40%
BIIB -6.50% -27.65%
GILD -4.09% 7.74%
CELG -5.42% -0.10%
REGN -2.08% 23.48%
ALXN -5.79% -9.98%
VRTX -15.53% -7.73%

What's Next in the Biotech World?

Watch out for the usual pipeline and regulatory updates from biotech companies this week.

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REGENERON PHARM (REGN): Free Stock Analysis Report

GILEAD SCIENCES (GILD): Free Stock Analysis Report

AMGEN INC (AMGN): Free Stock Analysis Report

BIOGEN INC (BIIB): Free Stock Analysis Report

INTRA-CELLULAR (ITCI): Free Stock Analysis Report

TRACON PHARMACT (TCON): Free Stock Analysis Report

JUNO THERAPEUTC (JUNO): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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