Biotechnology stocks finished a week of high expectations on adown note last Friday, but with a few issues showing signs oflife.
The scene was set Monday by the opening of the EighthInternational Conference on AIDS in Amsterdam, where acouple of dozen biotechnology companies would makepresentations about progress on proposed therapies, and a WallStreet Journal headline that read, "Biotech Stocks Are BouncingBack."
The sector's performance over the week suggests thatbiotechnology stocks have yet to throw off the effects of theirApril-to-June swoon.
The AMEX Biotechnology Stock Index, which gained 11 percentduring the first 13 trading days of July, gave up a small swathof ground last week. The index closed Friday at 157.30, down1.57 for the day and 4.28 for the week, but still up 11. 85 fromJune 30. At its crest last Jan. 14, the AMEX index stood at256.60.
The week did produce news that spurred at least short-termgains and hopes that they would be sustained.
Helped by a report of strong quarterly product sales andprofits and the backing of several analysts, Amgen Inc. onWednesday broke through the barrier of a $65-a-share closingprice for the first time since March 3. However, Amgen(NASDAQ:AMGN) finished the week at $63.13 a share, down$1.25 for the day, but up 13 cents for the week.
Immunex Corp., spurred by last Thursday's announcement of alegal settlement in a dispute with the marketing partners forits only approved drug, on Friday gave up most of the previousday's gain. The third most heavily traded biotechnology issueon Friday, Immunex (NASDAQ:IMNX) closed at $33.25 a share,down $1.50 for the day, but up $1.75 for the week.
Affymax N.V. (NASDAQ:AFMXF) bounced up $2.25 a share onThursday with word that its drug discovery alliance withMarion Merrell Dow was extended three years and expandedby roughly $7.5 million. The stock was quiet Friday, closingunchanged, and toting up a $1.37-a-share gain for the week.
Centocor Inc. (NASDAQ:CNTO), closed Friday at $14.38 a share,unchanged for the day, but off $1.42 for the week. Thecompany's stock had climbed to $16.25 a share following a July16 announcement that Eli Lilly & Co. planned to pump $125million into the smaller company, including $50 million topurchase Centocor shares at $25 each.
Making a presentation to the AIDS conference proved no sure-fire boost for company stocks, among them:
-- Applied Immune Sciences Inc. (AISX) closed Friday at$15.25 a share, down 50 cents for the day and off $2.25 for theweek.
-- Cel-Sci Corp. (NASDAQ:CELI), the most heavily tradedbiotechnology issue on Friday with a volume of 845,000 shares,closed at $1.84, up 19 cents for the day and 31 cents for theweek;
-- Genelabs Inc. (GNLB) closed Friday at $5.63 a share, off 38cents for the day and down 75 cents for the week.
-- Immune Response Corp. (IMNR) declined $2.12 on Friday toclose at $20.63 a share, off $8.37 for the week.
-- Univax Biologics Inc. (UNVX) rose $1.25 on Friday to $8.75 ashare, a $1.25 gain for the week.
-- Vestar Inc. (VSTR) fell 25 cents a share Friday, but gained50 cents for the week.
-- Ray Potter Senior Editor
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