With the SPDR S&P Biotech Index up 40% 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.
Yet again, this week was absolutely dominated by earnings-driven events. Given that we at the Fool have covered many of these stories already this week I want to instead focus on five non-earnings driven events that caught my attention.
As I prefer to always start you off with the good news, let’s turn our attention to Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG), which, on Friday, announced that the European Commission had approved its oral relapsed and refractory rare blood cancer drug pomalidomide in combination with dexamethasone. Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) will be launching the drug in Europe under the trade name Imnovid, and it’ll be used in cases where patients have tried at least two previous cancer therapies. In late-stage trials, Imnovid delivered progression-free survival of 15.7 weeks, which was a dramatic improvement over the placebo. Worldwide peak sales estimates for the drug are around $1 billion, so this is certainly a good start.
On Monday, small-cap biotechnology company Compugen Ltd. (USA) (NASDAQ:CGEN) gave investors something to cheer about when it announced a collaboration and licensing agreement with Bayer for two of its antibody-based immunotherapies. The deal could be worth as much as $540 million for Compugen Ltd. (USA) (NASDAQ:CGEN) and gives the company $10 million upfront, as well as the potential for $30 million more in milestone payments during preclinical trials. The two companies will co-develop these drugs, with Bayer getting worldwide rights upon commercialization (though Compugen Ltd. (USA) (NASDAQ:CGEN) would still receive a mid- to high-single-digit royalty). This is great news for Compugen Ltd. (USA) (NASDAQ:CGEN), as it solves the problem of seeking out a partner later, helps reduce its clinical testing costs, and staves off the need to dilute shareholders with a secondary offering to raise cash. Shares added 44% this week.
But as you might imagine, not all news this week was good. Although ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISIS)‘ share price hardly moved, it delivered disappointing news on Monday that ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISIS)-CRPrx failed to demonstrate a statistically significant improvement in inflammation reduction as compared with the placebo in a mid-stage rheumatoid arthritis trial. Isis noted that its drug did cut the C-reactive protein by 67%,