Checking In on Red-Hot Nasdaq Biotechs

Biotechs -- including Advaxis, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADXS), Sarepta Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SRPT), Alder Biopharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ALDR), and BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCRX) -- are having a big day on the Nasdaq

Jun 30, 2015 at 11:33 AM
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By now, traders are accustomed to seeing big moves from biotech stocks, in either direction. Today, many biotechs are moving to the upside, which is apparent when looking at the top of the Nasdaq Composite's (COMP) leaderboard. According to Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White, biotech stocks account for 10.8% of the COMP by market cap, making it the second-largest sector in the index (just behind Internet software and services stocks). Leading the charge at midday is Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO), which we looked at earlier this morning. Other biotechs boasting big gains on the COMP are Advaxis, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADXS), Sarepta Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SRPT), Alder Biopharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ALDR), and BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCRX).

  • ADXS isn't too far behind JUNO, as the stock's 13% gain has it as the second-leading stock on the COMP, and trading at $19.50. It's been a wild year for the shares, as they have more than doubled in value. However, Advaxis, Inc. has dropped more than 35% since touching a four-year high of $30.13 earlier this month. On the sentiment front, analysts have recognized the equity's longer-term upward trajectory, with 100% of firms rating it a "strong buy."

  • SRPT slipped 9.9% yesterday, after fellow biotech BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:BMRN) announced its muscle disorder drug, drisapersen, was granted priority review status by the FDA. At the same time, however, Sarepta Therapeutics Inc yesterday finished submitting its marketing application for rival drug eteplirsen to the FDA. Today, the shares are fighting back, adding 8.1% to hit $30.47 -- bringing the stock's year-to-date gains back above 100%.

  • ALDR was last seen 7.6% higher at $50.50. At this time last year, the shares were only trading at $19.84, so it's been quite the upward ride. As such, options traders have boarded the bullish bandwagon. During the past 10 sessions at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), traders have bought to open 7.2 Alder Biopharmaceuticals Inc calls for each put. However, not everyone's so convinced -- 12.2% of the stock's float is sold short

  • Even though BCRX hasn't seen the same monster gains as the three stocks above, it's by no means a slouch. The stock was up 18.6% in 2015 before today, and has since added 6.1% to trade at $15.30. BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a favorite among analysts, with 71% saying it's a "strong buy." In fact, just this morning, BofA-Merrill Lynch upgraded the security's rating to a "buy."


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