You can’t win all of the time. This week saw its fair share of losing stocks in the health-care arena. Here are three of the biggest losers of all.
One decision led to a double whammy this week for biotech companies Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO) and Viropharma Inc (NASDAQ:VPHM). Viropharma’s shares fell 8% for the week after it canceled a phase 2 study that combined one of its products with one of Halozyme’s products. Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO), though, experienced the brunt of the news, with shares dropping over 16% for the week.
The clinical study found that some patients taking Viropharma Inc (NASDAQ:VPHM)’s Cinryze and Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO)’s recombinant human hyaluronidase, or rHuPH20, had unexpected incidence of non-neutralizing anti-rHuPH20 antibodies. Although these antibodies weren’t found to be associated with any adverse events, Viropharma Inc (NASDAQ:VPHM) decided to pull the plug on the study after talking with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
For its part, Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO) remains confident about the safety profile of rHuPH20. The enzyme is used in two already-approved products — Hylenex, which was approved by the FDA, and Baxter‘s HyQvia, which was approved in Europe.
Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNSS) shares fell nearly 16% for the week. The slide stemmed from a recommendation by an ethics committee to discontinue a clinical study for the company’s vosaroxin in treating acute mylogenous leukemia, or AML.
The decision from the ethics committee related to a study sponsored by Cardiff University. At this point, the only explanation given was that the monotherapy vosaroxin arm of the study “did not meet the pre-specified criteria for advancement.”
Although the Cardiff study discontinuation hangs as a cloud over Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNSS) right now, the company is moving forward with its own phase VALOR study for vosarosin in treating AML. Sunesis expects to complete enrollment this quarter.
The problem stemmed from the bottom line. Cadence Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:CADX) announced a net loss of $11.9 million, or $0.14 per share. Analysts expected a loss of $0.11.
Although Cadence missed the consensus earnings estimate, the rest of the year looks pretty good as sales for its Ofirmev intravenous injection of acetaminophen continue to pick up steam. Cadence licensed Ofirmev from Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2006 to market the drug in the U.S. Bristol maintained the non-U.S. rights, and sells the drug under the brand name Perfalgan in Europe and the rest of the world outside of the U.S. market.