Another volatile day of trading in health care stocks unfolded March 13, after a trebling of broader market carnage the day before and the declaration of a national emergency by U.S. President Donald Trump Friday afternoon. Substantial declines hit shares of Moderna Inc., Vaxart Inc. and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., all of which had recently rallied on optimism over coronavirus-fighting efforts. Biopharma shares saw some recovery, with both the S&P 500 Health Care Sector and Nasdaq biotechnology indices each rising a bit more than 2% each before Friday's close.
Biopharma happenings, including deals and partnerships, grants, preclinical data and other news in brief: Abcellera, Can-Fite, I-Mab, La Jolla, Lattice, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Lilly, Neuexcell Therapeutics, Pharmamar, Qiagen, Redx Pharma, Roche, Sengenics, Verastem.
Sientra Inc., of Santa Barbara, Calif., reported gains in both its breast products and Miradry segments during its fourth-quarter earnings call after the close of the market March 11. For his part, CEO Jeff Nugent noted that the company had experienced record total net sales in the fourth quarter of $23.2 million, representing growth of 22% year-on-year. However, the company provided full-year 2020 guidance for 12% to 17% growth, which William Blair’s Margaret Kaczor said was below her organization’s 22% estimate, “though the shortfall is largely a result of negative impacts from COVID-19.”
As the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, companies are scrambling to develop effective diagnostics and vaccines to contain the outbreak and reduce future threats. Among those is Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., which has been awarded a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to speed testing and scale of smart delivery device for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.