Right then. It’s time to take a look at who is moving in the biotech space right now, and which of these movers are winners and which are winners. We’re closing in on the end of the week, and it’s been a big one at both ends of the space, but some companies in particular have caught our eye.
Here are two companies that we think deserve a mention in the biotech sector as we close in on the final session of the week. The two companies under the microscope are Heat Biologics Inc (NASDAQ:HTBX) and Achaogen Inc (NASDAQ:AKAO). The first one is straightforward, the second is a speculative move but one well worth keeping an eye on going forward.
So, let’s start with Heat Biologics Inc (NASDAQ:HTBX).
We’ve discussed this company on a number of occasions across the last week or so, and it’s been a real rollercoaster in the biotech space. This time around, it’s not a good focus. The company is down more than 60% on its Wednesday close, and looks set for further weakness as we head into the close of the US session on Thursday. Why? Because it just put out some data from its lead bladder cancer trial, and things don’t look great. Essentially, the drug looked like it might work, and then didn’t.
The drug in question is called HS-410, and the company was investigating it in the above mentioned bladder cancer indication both as a combination with standard of care, bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), or as monotherapy. There was some degree of anti tumor activity shown initially, but nowhere near enough to gain anything statistically significant over a placebo arm, and the endpoint, recurrence-free survival at one year, was not met.
There’s an extension going on during which the company is monitoring the treated patients for an extended period of twelve months, which will bring the results to representative of a two-year duration, but markets (and us) are far from convinced that this extension will yield any variation on the just announced data.
We’ll keep an eye on things as they develop, but in this author’s opinion, 410 is not looking good in this indication, both as a mono and a combo.
Moving on to Achaogen Inc (NASDAQ:AKAO).
This one is all about looking forward to a binary event. Binary events are big in biotech, and we often see markets load up ahead of a data drop in anticipation of positive news. This company has some data set to hit press before the close of the quarter, related to its lead urinary tract infection asset, Plazomicin. The drug s currently under investigation as part of a phase III trial, and if the data comes out as supportive of efficacy (and safety, but we’ve already seen some pretty robust safety data from previous studies, so it’s not a huge concern) then there’s a large potential upside to its current market capitalization on offer.
We’re heading into the holiday period in the US and Europe, so the suggestion that the data is going to hit before the end of the quarter almost certainly suggests we are looking at a release during the first three weeks of December. Achaogen Inc (NASDAQ:AKAO) is up nearly 7% heading into the close of this week, as speculative volume flows in to the company ahead of the release, and in anticipation of some positive results.
Note: This article is written by Mark Collins and was originally published at Market Exclusive.