Yet again, the biotech space hasn’t failed to disappoint from a volatility perspective, and we’ve seen plenty of movers across the last twenty-four hours. Here are three of the biggest movers, and a look at what’s driving the volatility.
Adamas Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ADMS)
We’ll start with Adamas. For those not familiar with the company, it’s a small cap biotech with a pipeline and product portfolio focused on disorders of the central nervous systems (CNS). It’s lead development candidate is called ADS-5102, and it targets a condition called levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID). LID is something that affects individuals with Parkinson’s disease. The standard of care treatment for Parkinson’s is levodopa, but long term use results in dyskinesia, which is the involuntary movement that characterizes the condition. With ADS-5102, Adamas is attempting to bring to market an oral administration version of a drug that can counter this dyskinesia. The company expects to submit an NDA at some point this year, but that’s not what served up the recent volatility – the action came as the company announced an expanded indication approval from the FDA for a drug it shares with Allergan plc Ordinary Shares (NYSE:AGN), NAMZARIC. It’s an Alzheimer’s indication, and it just got approved for use as a combination therapy in patients with a moderate to severe version of the disease, who are currently stabilized on a drug called Aricept. This is a big deal, as the moderate to severe population accounts for about 75% of the Alzheimer’s population as a whole, so the company’s target market just expanded considerably.
Markets recognized this, of course, and traded Adamas up on the back of the fresh potential. The company is up just shy of 10% mid session in the US. Allergan is also up on the news, but to an (as expected) far smaller degree. Circa 1% at time of writing.
Relypsa Inc (NASDAQ:RLYP)
Next up, Relypsa. This is the big news of the day. Premarket on Thursday, Relypsa announced that it had agreed to a takeover bid from Swiss biotech Galenica AG (VTX:GALN). Under the terms of the deal, Galenica, through its US operational arm Vifor, will pick up all of the outstanding shares of Relypsa at a per share price of $32 a share – a 60% premium on the company’s pre-announcement share price. This is a good deal for both companies – Relypsa benefits from the premium pricing, and Galencia picks up a solid asset in Relypsa’s hyperkalemia drug, Veltassa, and something strong to at the American market with as lead. Analysts have put a $1 billion peak sales estimate on the drug, and while certain labeling issues disappointed when the FDA approval hit press, there’s still plenty of potential going forward on a solid commercialization strategy execution.
As expected, Relypsa is up just shy of its premium as things stand, currently trading 58% higher than session open for a market capitalization of $1.43 billion. The acquisition deal sees it valued at circa $1.5 billion based on its outstanding shares.
Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB)
Let’s finish up with Biogen. Biogen is up nearly 7% at time of writing, on what has been something of a mixed bag of news for the company. Earlier this morning, Biogen reported better than expected results for the second quarter of this year, with revenues increasing 12% year over year and net income rising by a little over $1 billion across the period. The company beat out on consensus forecast pretty much across the board, as sales from three of its strongest drug gained double digit percentage point sales on the year earlier quarter.
However, as the announcement came, we also learned that the company’s CEO, George Scangos, will be stepping down before the end of the quarter. The only reason given was that it is time for new leadership, but markets are speculating that buyout rumors have contributed to his decision.
Whatever the reason, markets are putting more weight behind the financial data than they are behind his departure, and it looks like the company is set to finish the week strong.