Investors have been flocking to biotech stocks this year, with the IBB, the ETF that tracks biotech stocks, making noteworthy gains. So far in 2015, several industries have either underperformed or provided mixed results, leading to a rather ho-hum showpiece for U.S. blue-chip indices.
Biotech stocks, on the other hand, have consistently returned positive results in the markets over the past seven years. On paper, there’s very little evidence to suggest that the magical rally in biotech stocks will abate any time soon.
Since 2010, the annualized average of the month-over-month performance rate for the exchange-traded fund iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) has outpaced the benchmark S&P 500, often with a wide margin averaging a 1.64% difference. In addition, both indicators peaked in performance in 2011, but the subsequent decline in blue-chip stocks was heavily pronounced. However, biotech stocks bucked the trend, continuing to make strong inroads.
On the trading floor, shares of Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PPHM) gained 1.79% to close at $1.14. The $229.33M company today announced that they have entered into cancer immunotherapy clinical trial collaboration. The collaboration will evaluate Peregrine’s investigational phosphatidylserine (PS)-signaling pathway inhibitor, bavituximab, in combination with AstraZeneca’s investigational anti-PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, durvalumab (MEDI4736). The planned Phase I/Ib trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of bavituximab in combination with durvalumab in multiple solid tumors.
Peregrine and AstraZeneca will collaborate on a non-exclusive basis, to evaluate the combination of bavituximab and durvalumab with chemotherapy as a potential treatment in various solid tumors. The Phase I part of the trial is expected to establish a recommended dose regimen for the combination and the Phase Ib part of the trial will assess the safety and efficacy of the investigational combination. Under the terms of the agreement, the initial trial will be conducted by Peregrine.
Vital Therapies Inc (NASDAQ:VTL) closed at $17.68 with an increase of 10.02%. The $424.60M company on August 21, 2015 announced that topline results from VTI-208, the Company’s phase 3 randomized, controlled, open-label trial, evaluating the ELAD System in subjects with alcohol-induced liver decompensation (AILD) failed to meet the primary endpoint of overall survival through at least 91 days assessed using the Kaplan Meier statistical method. Of 203 total subjects enrolled in VTI-208, 96 were randomized to the treated group and 107 were randomized to the control group. A hazard ratio of 1.027 (slightly favoring the control group) with a log rank p-value of 0.90 (not statistically significant, N.S.) indicated that there was no difference between treated and control subjects in the primary endpoint.
Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PGNX) ended at $7.62 by gaining 0.40%. The $531.00M company on August 6, 2015 announced results of operations for the second quarter and six months ended June 30, 2015.
Net loss for the quarter was $11.7 million or $0.17 diluted per share, compared to net loss of $11.1 million or $0.16 diluted per share in the second quarter of 2014. Net loss for the current six months was $22.0 million, or $0.32 diluted per share, compared to $20.4 million or $0.31 diluted per share in the first half of 2014. Progenics ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $99.3 million, a decrease of $9.1 million in the quarter and $20.0 million from 2014 year-end.
Second quarter revenue totaled $1.9 million, up from $1.5 million in the second quarter of 2014, reflecting RELISTOR(R) (methylnaltrexone bromide) royalty income of $1.8 million compared to $1.4 million in the corresponding period in 2014, based on net sales reported to Progenics by our commercialization partner, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.
The current quarter increase in royalty revenue is primarily due to higher net sales of $11.9 million for the three months ended June 30, 2015, compared to $9.1 million for the corresponding period in 2014. Collaboration revenue for the second quarter remained unchanged at $0.1 million compared to the corresponding period in 2014. Current year first half revenues were $2.2 million, down from $3.3 million in the first half of 2014, reflecting royalty income of $1.9 million compared to $2.1 million and collaboration revenue of $0.2 million compared to $1.1 million in the corresponding period in 2014
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