Vertex (VRTX $54.17) soared 12.75% today on expectations for FDA approval of it telaprevir HCV drug Thursday April 28. Today FDA staff in a preliminary review commented that the Vertex drug when combined with current therapies is more effective than those drugs alone. The FDA team confirmed telaprevir’s efficacy findings and secondary endpoint analysis for all pivotal clinical trials with minor side effects. Yesterday the FDA gave a briefing on a competitive HCV drug from Merck(MRK $35) up 2%,suggesting an approval recommendation for boceprevir with some safety questions such as neutropenia/anemia and Merck’s pursuit of a broad label including null-responders. Larger cap biopharma stocks rallying in the Vertex tailwind are Amgen (AMGN $56) up 2.6%,Biogen-Idec (BIIB $102.25) up 1.95%,Onyx (ONXX $35.26) up 5% and Regeneron (REGN $51) up 2.49%. Amgen has been a laggard YTD and with a PE of 11.67 and a strong pipeline could be considered a value play.
On a light volume day in the market where bulls or bears can exert leverage it is clear that the bulls are still in charge. While many players are on the sidelines waiting for Chairman Bernanke’s Press Conference tomorrow, market indices rallied almost 1% today lead by techs,industrials and transports.Money flowing out of commodities are moving into technology. Biotechs usually follow techs and NASDAQ and were rallying today with major ETF’s up 1.5%.
Mid cap biotechs were strong and the Rayno LIfe Science Portfolio was up 1.45% many stocks are up 2% or more such as Abaxis (ABAX), Cardiovascular Systems (CSII) and Micromet (MITI).