Biotech Beat: 3 Drugmakers Seeing Big Gains

Versartis Inc (NASDAQ:VSAR), Invivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:NVIV), and Catabasis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CATB) are three biotech stocks surging today

by Josh Selway

Published on Jul 6, 2015 at 2:37 PM

Even though the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) remains stuck in the red on concerns about Greece, many biotech stocks are having a huge day. Below, we'll take a closer look at Versartis Inc (NASDAQ:VSAR), Invivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:NVIV), and Catabasis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CATB) to see what has these stocks outperforming today.

  • Simply stated, VSAR has exploded today. The shares are up 29.7% at $18.95, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it will allow the company to continue a study of its drug application for VRS-317. Before today, Versartis Inc had been an underperformer of late, trailing the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by almost 19 percentage points during the past three months. Short sellers certainly aren't pleased with today's developments. More than 10% of Versartis Inc's float is dedicated to short interest, which would take over two weeks to buy back, at the stock's normal daily trading pace.

  • NVIV is having a pretty good day of its own, adding 10.4% to hit $17.28, after the company announced promising results from two patients who used its Neuro-Spinal Scaffold implantation. The shares have already had an insane ride on the charts, adding over 800% since touching an all-time low of $1.86 in early September. This may be one reason option traders have so clearly preferred Invivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp calls over puts at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). Close to 900 calls have been bought to open across these exchanges since the stock's options began trading in late May, compared to just 117 puts.

  • CATB only started trading on June 25, but so far, so good for the Wall Street newcomer. The stock earlier touched a record high of $16.96, but was last seen just 8.1% higher at $13.40 -- almost 11.7% higher than its initial public offering price of $12. Catabasis Pharmaceuticals Inc is getting a lift today thanks to the FDA, which just gave "fast track" status to the company's experimental muscle disorder drug, CAT-1004.

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