Biotech Stock Collapses After Failed Drug Study

Short sellers have been flocking to VBLT in recent weeks

Managing Editor
Mar 8, 2018 at 9:59 AM
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Vascular Biogenics Ltd (NASDAQ:VBLT) is the worst stock on the Nasdaq today, down 65% to trade at $2.38 -- and just off a new record low of $2.30 -- after the biotech's brain cancer drug failed to meet its late-stage study goals. However, the company said it believes VB-111 "may still hold promise for other indications we currently or may study in the future."

Prior to today's freefall, VBLT stock had tacked on 19% year-over-year, and had found support at its 200-day moving average, after pulling back from a two-year high of $9.05 on Nov. 16. Now, however, the security is on track for its worst single-day performance of all time. 

Although the stock is currently short-sale restricted, plenty of short sellers are likely cheering today's collapse. Short interest increased by nearly 60% during the last two reporting periods, and now represents 6.7% of VBLT's total available float.

Analysts could re-think their bullish positions on the tanking drug name. The three brokerage firms tracking VBLT rate it a "strong buy," while the stock's average 12-month price-target of $14.75 represents a 520% premium to its current perch. Should VBLT continue to languish, it could prompt downgrades and/or price-target cuts. 

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