2 Pharma Stocks Surging on Drug Data

Options traders are flocking to LJPC stock after its surge

by Lillian Currens

Published on Jun 6, 2019 at 1:48 PM

The Dow has continued its rally, eyeing a fourth straight win today thanks to strength from the energy sector. Drug stocks ContraVir Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CTRV) and La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company (NASDAQ:LJPC) are soaring today, too. Below, we'll take a look what's driving CTRV and LJPC's big moves. 

CTRV Stock Doubles on NASH Study Success 

The drugmaker CTRV, which focuses on treatments for hepatitis B, just announced that its preclinical study for its non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) liver fibrosis treatment, CRV431, garnered successful results in mice over a six-week period. The equity more than doubled in response, up 103.6% to trade at $10.23 at last check, set to snap its five-day losing streak and clock its best day in over four years.

What's more, CTRV is eyeing its first close atop its 30-day moving average since mid-April, right before the stock suffered a a 43.4% drop.The equity managed to close that bear gap earlier, hitting a high of $15.75 before paring back some of these gains. ContraVir still has a ways to go, however, to eat into its long-term losses. The stock just bottomed out at an all-time low of $4.80 yesterday. 

H.C. Wainwright Calls LJPC a "Buy" On Drug Data

Fellow biopharmaceutical concern La Jolla is seeing a surge, as well, after the company reported positive data for its experimental hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) treatment, LJPC-401, in a mid-stage trial. The news has LJPC stock vying for its highest close in over five months, and its biggest one-day jump since 2012, surging 86% to trade at $10.25, at last check. Plus, the equity is testing resistance at its 180-day moving average after briefly trading atop it earlier today, for the first time since its peak last August. 

LJPC's surge had H.C. Wainwright chiming in, lifting its price target to $27 from $25, while maintaining its "buy" rating. The analyst's price target is the highest on Wall Street, but analysts are anything but bearish on the pharma name. La Jolla currently boasts a consensus 12-month target price of $19.50 -- about a 90% premium to current levels. Plus, 80% of the analysts following the stock dub it a "strong buy."

Options buyers are in a frenzy over La Jolla stock, too. Currently 15.3 million contracts have crossed the tape, an eyebrow-raising 52 times the intraday amount. It looks like the June 8- and 9-strike puts are getting the most action, with majority of contracts being sold to open. 


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