We’ve had another big day in biotech, and a number of companies have moved on news and fundamental developments. The political influence is starting to wear off now, as is the flush in sentiment towards the bulls on the back of a Trump Presidency (and the resulting lack of scrutiny on pricing in the sector) and this is starting to highlight cracks in certain names that picked up an unsupported boost.
That said, there are still plenty of companies that have had solid catalysts, and as such, a number that are building on last week’s gains to carve out fresh monthly highs.
Here’s what we are looking at in the space as the biggest movers. The two companies in focus for today are Cellectar Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:CLRB) and (and we’re sort of cheating on this one since it’s two companies as opposed to one) The Medicines Company (NASDAQ:MDCO) and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALNY).
We’ll start with Cellectar Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:CLRB). This one is a double digit mover, based on an announcement relating to one of its lead clinical development programs. Specifically, the company gained more than 12% across the session in the US after announcing that it had teamed up with an entity called INC research to undertake a phase II clinical trial of its CLR 131 candidate.
The drug is currently under investigation in a multiple myeloma (MM) indication, and data to date has been robust from a safety perspective, but efficacy remains under scrutiny (not because there’s been no indication of efficacy in previous studies, but because they were small scale). This phase II will be an important milestone on completion if the company can prove that its drug works, and as a result, markets are watching it closely. One of the primary concerns surrounding the study was funding (as is always the case with at this end of the space) and it’s funding that has really driven Cellectar Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:CLRB)’s gains.
Specifically, the company announced that the above mentioned INC is set to inject $2 million into its cash reserves to help foot the bill for the trial. This is great news for the company, but also (and perhaps more so) for shareholders, since it dramatically reduces the dilutive burden they have to withstand come time for trial related fund raising.
Moving on, The Medicines Company (NASDAQ:MDCO) and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALNY).
This one is a little less straightforward.
The two companies are developing a drug called inclisiran (PCSK9si/ALN-PCSsc) as part of a joint venture in a cholesterol lowering indication. There’s a large potential market for the drug if the two companies can bring it to market – it’s targeting a current SOC in the space developed by biotech incumbent Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) – but the chances of approval remain pretty uncertain right now.
We’re discussing them here because they just put out updated phase II data from a trial called ORION, and markets seem uncertain how to interpret it. Well, not that, so much, but whether it’s actually an upgrade on the previously released numbers. For us, it is, albeit a pretty small one, and it builds into the companies’ chances of success when they take the drug into a pivotal. Basically, we’re resting on the suggestion that the updated data helps to identify an optimal dose, and will serve to underpin safety data come submission, so while it’s not game changing, every little bit helps.
Note: This article is written by Mark Collins and was originally published at Market Exclusive.