Sangamo Therapeutics, Ardelyx, Akari Therapeutics Moving Big Today

It's a volatile day for biotech stocks, including these three big movers

by Elizabeth Harrow

Published on May 12, 2017 at 3:07 PM

It's a muted session for the major market indexes, with stocks hovering between mild gains and minor losses. Among the notable stocks on the move today are biopharmaceutical names Sangamo Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SGMO), Ardelyx Inc (NASDAQ:ARDX), and Akari Therapeutics PLC (ADR) (NASDAQ:AKTX).

Sangamo's Pfizer Surge Leaves Short Sellers Scrambling

Sangamo shares are still soaring today, up another 17.1% to trade at $8.20 on the heels of Thursday's 60% breakout rally. Given the stock's short interest ratio of 16.4 days to cover, it seems likely that we're seeing a massive short squeeze play out on SGMO stock following news of the company's Pfizer deal.

That said, a short squeeze likely wouldn't take a full 16.4 days to play out anymore. Trading volume in the stock hit a new high of 15.7 million shares on Thursday, and has already topped 8 million today. SGMO's average daily volume, meanwhile, is less than 1 million.

Ardelyx Price Target Cut After Drug Disappointment

ARDX is down 38.4% to $7.55 this afternoon, pacing the Nasdaq losers after its Tenapanor constipation drug missed one of the eight secondary goals in a Phase 3 trial. In response, Wedbush lowered its price target on Ardelyx shares to $14 from $24.

With short selling restricted on ARDX due to today's sell-off, options volume has exploded -- on a relative basis, at least. So far, a total of 507 calls and puts have traded on Ardelyx, blowing past the under-the-radar stock's previous 52-week option volume high of 262 contracts back on Feb. 21.

Akari CEO News Sends Stock Reeling

Akari Therapeutics stock is getting hammered today, off 18.6% at $9.35 after CEO Gur Roshwalb was placed on administrative leave. William Blair downgraded AKTX to "market perform" this morning, and the stock is on track to end below its 80-day moving average for the first time since March. It looks like short sellers may have hit the bricks too soon on AKTX; short interest on the stock fell by 29% during the reporting period ended May 1. 


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