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Biotech Stock Roundup: Medivation Buyout Rumors Continue, NewLink Plunges on Late-Stage Data

Earnings remained in focus this week as well with several small and mid-sized biotech companies reporting results. Meanwhile, Medivation MDVN remains in the news as the acquisition saga continues with more companies rumored to be interested in buying the firm.

Other updates include data presentations as well as label expansions and product approvals.

Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories

1. With first quarter earnings season drawing to a close, several small and mid-sized biotech companies reported results over the last five trading days. Most of these are companies like Juno JUNO, Kite KITE and Repros which have no approved products in their portfolios and are still in the development stage. In such a scenario, investors are more focused on the pipelines and cash burn.

Kite and Juno are key names in the immuno-oncology space with both looking to bring their lead candidates to market in 2017. While Juno’s JCAR015 is in a registrational phase II study (ROCKET) in adult patients with relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Read more: Juno Posts Wider Loss in Q1, Focus on Pipeline), Kite’s KTE-C19 is in the pivotal phase of a phase I-II study (ZUMA-1) in patients with refractory diffuse large B cell lymphoma including primary mediastinal B cell lymphoma and transformed follicular lymphoma (Read more: Kite Pharma Posts Narrower-than-Expected Loss in Q1).

2. Medivation, which had rejected an unsolicited offer from French drugmaker Sanofi, continues to be in the news as speculation increases about other companies being interested in acquiring Medivation. The latest rumor is that the company is now interested in selling itself. According to a Reuters article, Pfizer and Amgen AMGN are some of the companies that have signed non-disclosure agreements with Medivation.

3. As part of its ongoing strategic review, ARIAD ARIA has decided to divest its European operations and out-license Iclusig in Europe and a few other countries to Incyte. This deal will allow ARIAD to focus its efforts in the U.S. and it also provides the company with a non-dilutive source of funds. Under this agreement, ARIAD stands to receive up to $275 million including an upfront payment of $140 million plus tiered royalties starting from 32% that could go up to 50%.

4. The FDA expanded the label of AbbVie’s ABBV cancer treatment, Imbruvica. The label now includes new data from two late-stage studies supporting its expanded use in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).

AbbVie and Bristol-Myers also gained EU approval for their blood cancer treatment, Empliciti making it the first and only immunostimulatory antibody approved for multiple myeloma in the EU.

5. NewLink Genetics’ NLNK shares plunged more than 30% on disappointing data from a late-stage study being conducted on its experimental cancer treatment, algenpantucel-L. The study, conducted in patients with resected pancreatic cancer, failed to achieve the primary endpoint. The news comes as a major disappointment considering algenpantucel-L is the most advanced candidate in NewLink’s pipeline. The company is now evaluating the future of its HyperAcute platform.


It was a mixed week for biotech stocks with Gilead recording a decline of 1.99% last week while Vertex gained 3.72% during this period. Meanwhile, Regeneron lost 34.35% over the last six months.

The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index was down 0.78% over the last five trading days (See the last biotech stock roundup here: Amgen Impresses, Gilead Disappoints in Q1, Biogen to Spin Off Hemophilia).

What's Next in the Biotech World?

Medivation will remain in the news as acquisition rumors continue. Meanwhile, with earnings season drawing to a close, investor focus will be back on the usual pipeline and regulatory updates.

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AMGEN INC (AMGN): Free Stock Analysis Report
MEDIVATION INC (MDVN): Free Stock Analysis Report
KITE PHARMA INC (KITE): Free Stock Analysis Report
JUNO THERAPEUTC (JUNO): Free Stock Analysis Report
ARIAD PHARMA (ARIA): Free Stock Analysis Report
ABBVIE INC (ABBV): Free Stock Analysis Report
NEWLINK GENETIC (NLNK): Free Stock Analysis Report
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