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Incyte Corporation (INCY), Pacific Biosciences of California (PACB), Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ASTX): 3 Humongous Health-Care Stocks This Week

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While the overall market muddled through the past five days, some stocks were on fire. Here are three health-care stocks experiencing humongous gains over the past week.

Jumping over Jakafi

Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY) takes the top spot on our humongous health-care stocks list. Shares jumped 30% for the week after the company announced good news from a clinical study of Jakafi in treating pancreatic cancer.

Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY)

Results from the mid-stage study showed a six-month survival rate of 42% for patients taking Jakafi along with the chemotherapy capecitabine. For the group of patients taking placebo with the chemotherapy, the six-month survival rate was only 11%. Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY) also reported that Jakafi was generally well tolerated during the study.

Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) also emerges as a potential winner with the latest results. The Swiss drugmaker markets Jakafi outside the U.S. under the brand name Jakavi as a treatment for myelofibrosis. Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY) maintains U.S. rights for the drug.

Rising expectations

Unlike Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY), Pacific Biosciences of California (NASDAQ:PACB) didn’t have any big news to announce this week. It didn’t need any, though. Shares still climbed more than 23%.

The good news for Pacific Biosciences of California (NASDAQ:PACB) came a couple of weeks ago with its second-quarter results. While not exactly awe-inspiring, the numbers convinced some analysts that the biotech had turned the corner. In its upgrade of the stock from “underweight” to “neutral,” Piper Jaffray noted “increased stability” for Pacific Biosciences of California (NASDAQ:PACB).

Since those second-quarter figures were announced, Pacific Biosciences of California (NASDAQ:PACB)’s shares have steadily risen. The company, which sells genetic sequencing systems, had a very rough 2012 — losing nearly 80% of its value at one point. This year has been much better, with shares more than doubling so far in 2013.

Putting it well

There wasn’t any real news this week for Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTX), either. But that didn’t stop shares from moving up by 18%.

Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTX) reported good second-quarter performance on Aug. 1 with better-than-expected sales of Dacogen, which treats anemia in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes. The stock responded positively, but those results weren’t enough to sustain positive momentum for the stock. Within a week, shares were at or below previous levels.

At this point, it’s not really clear why Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTX) experienced such a good week. However, at least one person is betting big that the stock continues to perform relatively well. On Tuesday, an unknown trader sold 5,000 put options for Astex stock expiring in September with a strike price of $5. If Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTX) drops to $5 per share or below by Sept. 20, this person would have to buy half a million shares.

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