2 Pharma Stocks Moving on Alnylam's Drug Study

Delmar Pharmaceuticals stock is soaring after the drugmaker secured a patent for its cancer treatment

by Katie Coburn

Published on Sep 20, 2017 at 3:21 PM

U.S. stocks are trading lower this afternoon, as Apple keeps the Dow in check and traders digest the Federal Reserve's plan to reduce its massive balance sheet. Among the names in the spotlight today are pharmaceutical stocks DelMar Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:DMPI), Arbutus Biopharma Corp (NASDAQ:ABUS), and Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IONS). Here's a quick look at what is moving shares of DMPI, ABUS, and IONS.

Pharmaceutical Penny Stock Soars on New Drug Patent

Delmar Pharmaceuticals stock has skyrocketed 83.2% to trade at $2.05 -- pacing for its best day in more than four years -- after the drugmaker secured a U.S. patent for its cancer treatment, VAL-083. Earlier, DMPI shares touched $2.29, more than doubling yesterday's close of $1.11. From a longer-term standpoint, DMPI has struggled in 2017, losing 35.4% since the start of the year, and hitting a record low of $1.05 yesterday.

Despite its poor performance, 75% of the analysts following the stock rate it a "strong buy," and not one brokerage firm suggests selling DMPI. Today's spike ranks DMPI stock as the top percentage gainer on the Nasdaq, with the shares now pacing for their first close above their 80-day moving average since April. 

Alynlam Drug Study Sends Arbutus Stock to 2-Year High

Also climbing the charts and ranking among the top stocks on the Nasdaq today is Arbutus Biophama stock, last seen 36.9% higher at $7.60, after touching a two-year high of $7.85 earlier. ABUS is higher thanks to Alnylam Pharmaceuticals' upbeat drug results for its genetic disease treatment, patisiran, which uses Arbutus' lipid nanoparticle technology. As a lipid nanoparticle (LPN) licensee, Alnylam could have to pay Arbutus between $800 million and $1 billion in milestone payments if the drug is approved by regulators, according to William Blair analysts.

Since hitting a four-year low of $2.35 on Jan. 24, ABUS shares have  more than tripled in value. A short squeeze could help the stock climb even higher, as short interest accounts for nearly a week's worth of pent-up buying demand, at the stock's average daily trading volume. ABUS stock, however, is on the short-sale restricted (SSR) list today.

Ionis Stock Tanks on Alnylam Drug Study News

Joining ABUS on the SSR list today is Ionis Pharmaceuticals stock, which is also reacting to Alnylam's positive drug study. IONS stock, however, is moving in the opposite direction, last seen trading 9.4% lower at $53.52. The biotech company reported positive late-stage study results for a competing drug earlier this year, but news of adverse side effects sent its shares lower.

Shorts are likely cheering today's decline, as short interest represents 9.4% of IONS stock's total available float. At the equity's average daily trading volume, it would take more than two weeks to cover these shorted shares. From a longer-term perspective, though Ionis stock has been in a channel of higher highs and lows since mid-2016, and just yesterday was in striking distance of its July 25 annual high of $60.01.


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