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The Daily Biotech Pulse: Opko Wins CDC Contract, Novartis Lowers Guidance, Pieris Study Placed On Partial Clinical Hold

Shanthi Rexaline

Here's a roundup of top developments in the biotech space over the last 24 hours:

Scaling The Peaks

(Biotech Stocks Hitting 52-week Highs July 20)

  • Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT)


  • Aclaris Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: ACRS)

  • Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY)

  • Altimmune Inc (NASDAQ: ALT)

  • argenx SE – ADR (NASDAQ: ARGX)

  • AstraZeneca plc (NYSE: AZN) (announced positive Phase 1/2 readout for the coronavirus vaccine it is co-developing with the Oxford University)

  • Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. Class A Common Stock (NYSE: BIO)

  • Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. Class B Common Stock (NYSE: BIO)

  • Beigene Ltd (NASDAQ: BGNE)


  • BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN)

  • BioXcel Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: BTAI) (reacted to positive late-stage readout for BXCK501 in treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder)

  • Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: BCLI)


  • Catalent Inc (NYSE: CTLT)

  • Cytosorbents Corp Inc (NASDAQ: CTSO)

  • Dynavax Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: DVAX)

  • Emergent Biosolutions Inc (NYSE: EBS)

  • Fortress Biotech (NASDAQ: FBIO)


  • Heat Biologics Inc (NASDAQ: HTBX)

  • Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN)

  • Immunomedics, Inc. (NASDAQ: IMMU)

  • Inspire Medical Systems Inc (NYSE: INSP)

  • Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ: ISRG)

  • Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: LGND)

  • Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIVO)

  • Nantkwest Inc (NASDAQ: NK)

  • NeoGenomics, Inc. (NASDAQ: NEO)

  • Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX)

  • OncoSec Medical Inc (NASDAQ: ONCS)

  • Opko Health Inc. (NASDAQ: OPK)

  • Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE: DGX) (said it has received emergency use authorization from the FDA to use specimen pooling with its proprietary molecular diagnostic test for COVID-19)

  • Penumbra Inc (NYSE: PEN)

  • Quidel Corporation (NASDAQ: QDEL) (announced data showing its COVID-19 antigen test has 96.7% sensitivity within five days of the onset of patient symptoms)

  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: REGN)

  • Relay Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: RLAY) (went public Thursday)

  • Sarepta Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: SRPT)

  • Seattle Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ: SGEN)

  • Syros Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: SYRS)


  • Trevena Inc (NASDAQ: TRVN)

  • Trinity Biotech plc (NASDAQ: TRIB)

  • VBI Vaccines Inc (NASDAQ: VBIV)

  • Veracyte Inc (NASDAQ: VCYT)

  • West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. (NYSE: WST)

  • Zoetis Inc (NYSE: ZTS)

Down In The Dumps

(Biotech Stocks Hitting 52-week Lows July 20)

  • Avidity Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ: RNA)

  • Forma Therapeutics Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: FMTX)

Stocks In Focus Opko Health Unit Secures CDC Contract For COVID-19 Antibody Testing

Opko said its unit BioReference Lab was awarded a contract to provide commercial surge capacity testing for COVID-19 emergency response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The contract calls for BioReference performing antibody testing to determine COVID-19 seroprevalence, providing results with key demographic information and analysis in collaboration with the CDC. The contract is effective July 20 and ongoing through Nov. 19, Opko said.

The stock was up 15.59% at $5.71 premarket Tuesday.

Novartis Misses Q1 Sales Estimates, Lowers 2020 Sales Outlook

Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) reported a 1% year-over-year decline in second-quarter net sales, with the company blaming the drop on forward purchasing in the first quarter.

Core EPS increased from $1.34 to $1.36, ahead of the $1.35 consensus estimate. The company lowered its guidance range and now expects mid-single digit net sales growth for fiscal year 2020. It guided to low-double digit core operating income growth.

The stock was losing 1.44% to $86.74 premarket.

Cytosorbents Pre-Announces Q2 Revenues, $40M Offering Of Common Stock

Cytosorbents announced preliminary second-quarter revenues of $9.8 million, a 61% year-over-year increase, helped by record quarterly sales of CytoSorb. Analysts estimated sales of $9.25 million for the quarter.

Separately, the company said it has commenced a $40-million underwritten public offering of its common stock.

The stock was slipping 9.05% to $10.50 premarket. 

See also: The Week Ahead In Biotech: Jazz Awaits FDA Nod For Sleep Disorder Drug, Earnings Trickle In, ACell IPO

Emergent Biosolutions to Join S&P MidCap 400 Index

Emergent Biosolutions is set to replace Caesars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ: CZR) in the S&P MidCap 400 effective July 24.

The stock was sliding 3% to $99 premarket.

Immuron's Technology Platform Found Effective Against Coronavirus In Gastrointestinal Tract

IMMURON LTD/S ADR (NASDAQ: IMRN) said its IMM-124E — used to manufacture its flagship commercially available and over-the-counter gastrointestinal and digestive health immune supplements Travelan and Protectyn — has demonstrated neutralizing activity against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

View more earnings on IBB

The stock was jumping 123.15% to $23.23 premarket.

Acadia Pharma's Lead Asset Flunks Late-Stage Study In Major Depressive Disorder

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ACAD) announced negative top-line results from its 298 patient Phase 3 CLARITY study, which combined two identical, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies evaluating the efficacy, safety and tolerability of pimavanserin as an adjunctive treatment for major depressive disorder.

The company said the study did not meet the primary endpoint with statistical significance.

Separately, the company said the FDA has accepted its sNDA for Nuplazid for the treatment of hallucinations and delusions associated with dementia-related psychosis, with a PDUFA action date of April 3, 2021.

The stock was down 11.13% premarket at $49.25. 

Pieris' Early Stage Cancer Drug Study Placed On Partial Clinical Hold

Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: PIRS) said its phase 1 studies of PRS-343 have been placed on partial clinical hold by the FDA. The company said it is conducting an additional in-use and compatibility study requested by the agency.

PRS-343 is in development for the treatment of HER2-positive solid tumors.

In premarket trading Tuesday, the stock was retreating 5.79% to $3.09.

Histogenics Announces Fund Purchase Of Up To $10M In Shares

Histogen Inc (NASDAQ: HSTO) said it has entered into a common stock purchase agreement for up to $10 million with Lincoln Park Capital Fund, a Chicago-based institutional investor. 

In premarket trading Tuesday, the stock was advancing 2.86% to $3.24.


Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals Ltd (NASDAQ: KNSA) said it is commencing a public offering of $100 million in Class A common shares. All are being offered by the company.

Kiniksa said it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to advance the development of its product candidates, aid commercialization activities and fund other R&D activities as well as for working capital and general corporate purposes.

In after-hours trading, the stock declined 7.04% to $22.20.

On The Radar Clinical Readouts

Novavax said Gregory Glenn, president of R&D, will present the progress of NVX-CoV2373, its COVID-19 vaccine candidate at the 2nd International Society for Vaccines Virtual Congress. The presentation is scheduled for 9:55 a.m. ET.


  • Intuitive Surgical (after the close)

Related Link: 5 Coronavirus Stock Valuations Surging During The Pandemic

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