(Bloomberg) — For the second time in less than a week the biotech sector got disappointing news after a closely-watched study from Sage Therapeutics Inc. and Biogen Inc. failed to ignite a much-needed rally.
The Nasdaq Biotech Index retreated as much as 1.9% and is on track for its biggest drop in over a month as the drugmakers’s benchmark index extended its slide for the third day.
Sage tumbled 18%, the most since March 2020, after results from a late-stage study raised questions on durability and commercial potential for a new drug for depression. Biogen fell a more modest 0.9% in Tuesday trading.
Sage’s data “fall a bit short of the transformative potential the drug had shown early in its development,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Brian Abrahams said.
The update was one of three key events investors were watching to provide a possible boost for the healthcare sector. Biogen’s Alzheimer’s disease approval briefly rekindled the industry last week before a disappointing pipeline update from Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. Thursday. With many key catalysts now in the rear view mirror investor malaise is setting in, said Brian Skorney, an analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co.
There’s a lack of catalysts for the sector with the big health-care conferences over, much-awaited decision on Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug in hand and Vertex and Sage data readouts behind us, Skorney said.
Even a positive update from Novavax Inc. for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate on Monday didn’t inspire investor confidence. Also, the company’s plans for an up to $500 million offering drove the stock down as much as 10% on Tuesday.
Smaller biotechs like Rapt Therapeutics Inc. and PDS Biotechnology Corp. also fell after revealing plans to raise cash over the past 24 hours. Favorites in Cathie Wood’s Ark funds like Editas Medicine Inc. and Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings Inc. weakened.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.