Biotechs Make Major Moves for a Second Straight Day

Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:SGYP), Can Fite Biopharma Ltd (ADR) (NYSEMKT:CANF), Vital Therapies Inc (NASDAQ:VTL), and Vascular Biogenics Ltd (NASDAQ:VBLT) are on the move

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Sep 24, 2015 at 2:16 PM

Biotech stocks are once again moving sharply, with upbeat drug data driving a pair of notable names significantly higher. Below, we'll take a look at four other drugmakers making moves on the charts, and how Wall Street may be reacting.

Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:SGYP) was last seen 6.7% lower at $6.04, pulling back just south of its 100% year-to-date gain level. Short sellers have been rolling the dice on an even more dramatic decline. A lofty 22.4% of SGYP's float is dedicated to short interest -- an amount that would take roughly two weeks to buy back, at the stock's average trading volumes.

Can Fite Biopharma Ltd (ADR) (NYSEMKT:CANF) has swung wildly today, soaring by as much as 10.3%, and sinking by as much as 11%. At last check, though, the shares were 0.4% at $5.26, putting them 50% higher year-to-date. In fact, CANF has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 312.2 percentage points over the last month. With a short-interest ratio of 6.10, it appears there's plenty of sideline cash available to fuel further gains in the stock, should it resume its longer-term uptrend.

Vital Therapies Inc (NASDAQ:VTL) has shot 16% higher to trade at $4.43, but remains a long-term laggard -- down 82% in 2015, mostly due to a late-August bearish gap triggered by a failed liver therapy trial. As such, bearish betting at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) has been ramping up. Specifically, VTL's 10-day put/call volume ratio has spiked to 2.96 -- with three puts bought to open for every call -- from 0.06 over the last two weeks. Looking ahead, the company is slated to present data on its cancer drug VB-111 this Sunday, Sept. 27, in Vienna.

Last but not least, Vascular Biogenics Ltd (NASDAQ:VBLT) has rocketed 20% to $11.12, as it attempts to close a mid-February bearish gap. Despite that early 2015 setback, the stock has still advanced roughly 88% on the year, inspiring optimism among the brokerage crowd. Two-thirds of covering analysts have handed out "strong buy" recommendations -- with not a single "sell" rating in sight -- while VBLT's consensus 12-month price target of $17.50 resides in uncharted waters.

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