Market Overview

From A(erie) To Z(ynerba): Biotech Catalysts Lined Up For Second Half Of 2017

From Aerie To Zynerba: Biotech Catalysts Lined Up For Second Half Of 2017

Between late-stage readouts and regulatory events, the biotech industry has enough second-half catalysts to potentially actualize Cantor Fitzgerald’s investment theses and justify its price targets, according to the firm’s recent note.

The most imminent is Versartis Inc (NASDAQ: VSAR)’s September release of phase 3 data from its somavaratan study, which compares the drug against Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE)’s Genotropin in patients with pediatric hormone growth deficiency. Cantor Fitzgerald considers it “achievable” for Versartis to prove non-inferiority, and it projects a 70-percent probability of somavaratan reaching commercialization.

The second catalyst will be bluebird bio Inc (NASDAQ: BLUE)’s December release of initial results from its modified LentiGlobin drug. Cantor Fitzgerald isn’t hopeful for positive outcomes, noting a 15 percent probability of success for the sickle cell treatment.

Related Link: August PDUFA Dates: Biotech Investors Stay Tuned To A Month Of Plenty

At another undetermined date, regulatory advisory committees are expected to meet to discuss the biologics license application for Spark Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: ONCE)’s Luxturna and new drug application for Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: AERI)’s Rhopressa.

The effects of these will be further compounded by clinical data reports from Abeona Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: ABEO), Bellicum Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: BLCM), Corbus Pharmaceutical Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: CRBP), Global Blood Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: GBT), Spark Therapeutics Inc, Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: SBPH) and Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ZYNE).

The aggregate performances of these players thus far led to a strong first-half for the biotech sector. By the date of publication, iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (ETF) (NASDAQ: IBB) was up 16.5 percent on the year against SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSEARCA: SPY)’s 9.4 percent.


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