It’s a fresh week, and yet again, the biotech space has given us plenty to talk about. The broader market has strengthened a little, but a number of drug makers continue to feel the pressure of risk off sentiment. Here are two of the week’s biggest movers so far, alongside a look at what’s driving the volatility in each.
First up, Endo International plc – Ordinary Shares (NASDAQ:ENDP). This one’s a bit of a counterintuitive move. The company closed out last week at just shy of $53 a share. By the close of Monday’s session, however, markets had sold off and Endo traded at $41.75 – a more than 21% decline across the period. The company reported its Q4 earnings in the midst of the selloff, and beat on pretty much every metric, which is why the decline, as mentioned, seems counterintuitive. EPS came in at $1.36 per share, a gain of more than 40% year over year, revenues followed suit, with the company reporting $1.07 billion – a huge 62% gain across the same period, and a fitting end to a $3.27 billion full year 2015. So, why the weakness?
Well, alongside the earnings release, Endo gave us an updated outlook for 2016, and markets have zeroed in one one aspect of this outlook report as a sentiment driver. Specifically, Endo reported it is closing its Women’s Heath Division – a division that has long given the company trouble – and that the closure will complete before the end of this month. The original plan was to offload the division to a better suitor – one that could close out the ongoing litigation issues and steer it to profitability – but Endo has failed to find any one that is willing to take on the task and, as a result, is forced to close it outright.
What should we expect going forward? Endo is down considerably over the past twelve months but it’s growing its bottom line at an impressive rate, and the offloading of the aforementioned division should streamline costs. If markets pick up pace, expect Endo to garner some positive attention.
Next, CytomX Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:CTMX). Just as with Endo, this is another counterintuitive decline. For those not familiar with CytomX, it’s an oncology focused development stage biotech based in California. It focuses on what are called Probodies, which are proprietary drugs that allow for targeted cancer treatment. A look at action in the company’s stock reveals an 11% decline across the Monday US session, but a look at CytomX’s filings reveals nothing overtly bearish about its operations.
Indeed, there have been a number of analysts upgrades that should suggest strength. Four analysts have placed strong buy ratings on CytomX, including inputs from both Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) and Oppenheimer, that put price targets of up to8 $20 a share on the buy side (for reference, last close put the company at $12.90).
So what might turn the company’s fortunes around? Its pipeline looks to be the primary driver going forward, but as things stand, its relatively immature. There are a couple of highlights – its collaboration with big pharma incumbent Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY) being one of them – but the key milestones look to be some near term IND submissions. The first, for a PD-L1 target called CX-072, which CytomX has stated it expects to submit to the FDA during the second half of this year. Preclinical studies look positive, but its far too early to speculate as to the chances of success in human trials. The second, a CD166 target called CX-2009. This one’s not slated for an IND submission before the first half of next year.
So there we go – two companies that have suffered over the past 48 hours or so, but which have the potential for a medium term turnaround if risk on sentiment returns. Of the two, Endo looks the better near term buy, with CytomX looking like a risk, speculative allocation at least up until the point it gets some INDs with the FDA.