2 Biotechs Making Big Moves

Mylan NV (MYL) and Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. (TNXP) are are moving in opposite directions today, as traders digest the latest fundamental developments

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Feb 16, 2016 at 1:58 PM
Updated on Feb 16, 2016 at 2:15 PM

As the broad market rallies today on hopes of a freeze in global crude production, drugmaker Mylan NV (NASDAQ:MYL) is following the majority of its sector peers higher. However, not all biotechs are benefiting from the day's bullish bias, with Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. (NASDAQ:TNXP) sharply lower panning fresh multi-year lows. Below, we'll take a closer look at what's sending MYL and TNXP in opposite directions -- and how option traders are responding to the price action.

MYL is trading 2% higher at $42.67 today, despite reports that the company has been subpoenaed over its pricing, marketing, and sales practices. Additionally, the stock received a price-target cut to $50 from $53 at Leerink this morning. However, MYL took a post-earnings slide last week, sending its 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) to 27 -- in oversold territory. In other words, a near-term bounce may have been in the cards.

In the options pits, traders have been exceptionally bearish in recent months. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the security's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 3.47 shows more than three MYL puts have been bought to open for each call during the period. Moreover, this ratio is higher than 98% of all comparable readings taken in the past year.

Today, however, options traders are showing a distinct preference for calls over puts, with the former outpacing the latter by a nearly 13-to-1 ratio. The majority of the action is centered at Mylan NV's April 42.50 and 50 calls, where it looks like one speculator could be rolling her bullish bet down.

Elsewhere, TNXP has plummeted 38% to trade at $2.50 -- and is fresh off a new two-year low of $2.48 -- after the company pulled the plug on its experimental episodic tension-type headache treatment following disappointing results from a phase 2 study. This negative price action only echoes the security's recent technical troubles, with TNXP down 67.4% year-to-date.

While today's drop has the stock on the short-sale restricted list, short interest had already been growing on TNXP. In the past month, specifically, short interest jumped 18.5%, and now accounts for about eight days of trading, at the security's typical volume.

Despite TNXP's weak technical performance, analysts have yet to lower their ratings on the stock -- all four brokerage firms providing coverage still call the equity a "strong buy." And the average 12-month price target of $11.51 stands at a level not seen since September 2014.

And while option volume on Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. is relatively low, near-term traders could be sweating today. In fact, the security's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.29 sits lower than 63% of all similar readings taken in the past year, meaning speculators are more call-heavy than usual among options expiring in the next three months.

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