Headlines Drive Sharp Moves on Biotechs

Signal Genetics Inc (NASDAQ:SGNL) and OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:OGXI) are on the move following news

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Sep 23, 2015 at 12:24 PM

It's been a big day for biotech news, resulting in some sharp moves within the sector. Two stocks worth highlighting are Signal Genetics Inc (NASDAQ:SGNL) and OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:OGXI), which are headed in opposite directions this afternoon.

SGNL was last seen 8.3% higher at $1.44, after the company inked a deal with an undisclosed business partner to test potential combination therapies for a type of bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma. This is a dramatic reversal for a stock that was staring at a 71% year-over-year loss heading into today. Earlier, the shares flirted with territory north of $2 for the first time since mid-July.

Today's bull gap may be turning up the heat on Signal Genetics Inc short sellers. Almost 9% of the equity's float is sold short. However, at SGNL's average trading volume, it would take less than two days to buy back these bearish positions.

On the flip side, OGXI has lost nearly one-quarter of its value today, down 24% at $2.22. The catalyst? A failed trial of its pancreatic cancer drug, apatorsen. The steep losses could force analysts to re-evaluate their bullish takes on the drugmaker. All three brokerages tracking OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc have rated it a "buy" or better, and its consensus 12-month price target of $5.30 sits in annual-high territory. A round of downgrades and/or price-target cuts could exacerbate losses.

In separate news, Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli confirmed he will lower the price of AIDS treatment Daraprim, following anti-price-gouging pressure from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, among others. Shkreli recently jacked up the drug's price more than 55 times, after acquiring it from Impax Laboratories Inc (NASDAQ:IPXL).

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