With the SPDR S&P Biotech Index up 38% over the trailing-12-month period, it’s evident that investment dollars are willingly flowing into the biotech sector. Keeping that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the rulings, studies, and companies that made waves in the sector last week.
As always, we’ll lead off with the feel-good stories for the week — and nothing made shareholders of Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTX) feel better than the announcement on Thursday that Japan’s Otsuka Holdings will buy Astex for $804 million, or $8.50 per share. The price of the deal represents a 30% premium from where Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTX) began the week. With this purchase, Otsuka gains access to FDA-approved myelodysplastic syndrome drug Dacogen, as well as a promising pipeline of cancer drugs, including SGI-110 which delivered positive top-line results in a mid-stage acute myeloid leukemia trial last week. In my opinion, I’d say Otsuka is getting an absolute steal of a deal on Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTX) given its strong cash position, multiple big pharmaceutical partnerships, and the recent favorable results in its pipeline. The market may feel this way as well with Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTX) current finishing the week slightly ahead of its offer price.
The remaining noteworthy stories this week were all related in one way or another to a positive or negative reaction to clinical-stage data.
In the plus column, Rockwell Medical Inc (NASDAQ:RMTI) even trumped Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTX), rising a clean 50% this week following positive late-stage study results of soluble ferric phosphate, or SFP, an iron replacement therapy for chronic kidney disease patients that are on dialysis. The study demonstrated that SFP met both its primary endpoint (statistically significant change in hemoglobin levels from the start to end of the study) and secondary endpoints (maintenance of hemoglobin, reticulocyte hemoglobin, and increase in serum iron in pre-to-post treatment without an increase in ferritin). With a good shot of becoming the go-to iron replacement therapy thanks to its superior safety results, Rockwell Medical Inc (NASDAQ:RMTI) shareholders certainly have something to cheer about. Expect Rockwell Medical Inc (NASDAQ:RMTI) to file for a new drug application within the next couple of months.
Also delivering shareholder-pleasing clinical data this week was the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) “little giant” Theravance Inc (NASDAQ:THRX). On Wednesday, Theravance Inc (NASDAQ:THRX) announced that its phase 2b trial involving in-house and wholly owned drug TD-4208, a long-acting muscarinic antagonist, met both its primary and secondary endpoints in the study which included a change in FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in one second) by day seven, and demonstrated the potential of being a once-daily treatment .