Biotech Beat-Down: Alcobra Ltd and Transition Therapeutics Inc.

Alcobra Ltd (NASDAQ:ADHD) and Transition Therapeutics Inc (USA) (NASDAQ:TTHI) are significantly lower today in the wake of disappointing drug data

Jun 24, 2015 at 1:33 PM
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It's a down day for the broader equities market, as optimism over a debt deal for Greece fades. Meanwhile, among specific equities seeing significant losses in today's trading are biotechnology names Alcobra Ltd (NASDAQ:ADHD) and Transition Therapeutics Inc (USA) (NASDAQ:TTHI), as traders react to a disappointing batch of drug data.

ADHD, for example, is off 14.7% at $7.16, after data showed the company's treatment for Fragile X Syndrome -- a genetic disorder that may cause autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- failed its mid-stage trial goals. This negative price action is rare for a stock that's nearly doubled in value on a year-to-date basis.

It appears speculators were bracing for a pullback, however. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), ADHD's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 0.69 ranks in the 68th annual percentile. Elsewhere, nearly one-third of Alcobra Ltd's (NASDAQ:ADHD) float is sold short.

Meanwhile, TTHI is taking it on the chin today -- down 74% at $2.39, and fresh off a two-year low of $2.11. Sparking the sell-off are reports the firm's experimental Alzheimer's drug, ELND005, did not meet the primary endpoints of its Phase 2/3 study. The stock is now comfortably in the red on a year-to-date basis, and on track to close at its lowest point since April 2013.

The stock could see some additional headwinds in the near term, should more short sellers climb on board. Short interest rose 6.7% in the two latest reporting periods, but still only accounts for 1.7% of Transition Therapeutics Inc's (NASDAQ:TTHI) total available float.

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