Biotech stocks or biotechnology stocks, however you say it, are up on Wednesday. One of the larges exchange traded funds in the sector is actually on pace for its third day in a row of seeing an advance in price. iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF jumped more than one percent to bring a week-to-date increase of just under four percent. Some of the biggest gainers in the sector included Gilead Sciences that was helped in part by its recent announcement regarding the acquisition of Kite Pharma. The gain for the stocks over the last three months has been just over twenty three percent and it is on pace to see its biggest percentage gain since last November.
In addition to this, Incite Corp. jumped by four and a half percent and other companies like Biogen Inc. and Regeneron Pharma were boosted over two percent. But not all biotech stocks were green on Wednesday. Companies like Novartis and Otonomy were down. In fact, Otonomy in particular fell nearly 90% after announcing that it had suspended all development activities for Otividex in patients with Miniere’s disease. This is a disorder of the inner ear that actually causes a feeling of spinning or, essentially vertigo. The drug missed its primary endpoint in a phase 3 trial as well as a key, secondary endpoint for vertigo.
But even with this being the case, the story has been all about bigger biotechs this week. BTIF analyst Dane Leone upgraded Juno on Monday, adding, “we continue to be skeptical of JUNO’s current competitive positioning, but upgrade our ranking to Neutral from Sell, as there is not a near term catalyst to offset the positive tailwind for the entire CAR T space…at this juncture with emerging overlap in Multiple Myeloma and third to market status in CD19 hematological malignancies, we struggle to find a rationale for Celgene wanting to fully own Juno.”