Pharma Stock Plunges to Record Lows on Trial Data

Call traders have been quick on the draw this morning

Assistant Editor
Oct 19, 2021 at 10:35 AM
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Atea Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AVIR) stock is crashing today, down 72.2% to trade at $11.26 at last check, after the pharma company failed to meet the main goal in a mid-stage trial of its oral Covid-19 drug, AT-527. The treatment failed to reduce the amount of SARS-CoV-2 virus in the patients compared to the placebo, and the pharma name is modifying its late-stage study. 

Since AVIR began publicly trading on Oct. 30, the stock had yet to cross below the $18 level. Today's bear gap, however, has Atea Pharmaceuticals swinging to record lows and one of the worst stocks on the Nasdaq.

Though analysts have yet to chime in after the news, there is plenty of room for bear notes. Of the five in coverage, four carry a "strong buy" rating, with one a "hold." Plus, the 12-month consensus price target of $58.67 is now a roughly 412% premium to current levels. 

Call traders are storming the stock today, with 15,000 calls across the tape so far, in comparison to 1,722 puts -- 26 times what's typically seen at this point. The November 15 call is the most popular, followed by the 20 call in the same monthly series, with positions being bought to open at both. 

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