Pharmasset Inc. (NASDAQ:VRUS) and Inhibitex (NASDAQ:INHX) made impressive gains Monday on favorable news about their hepatitis C treatments. Pharmasset finished the day up almost 5%, at $72.23, after reporting that its product — PSI-7977, an experimental hep C drug — cured all patients in a recent study. The smaller Inhibitex ($760 million market cap to VRUS’s $5.45 billion) shot up almost 14% to $9.72 after reporting success with its own trial drug, INX-189.
However, their gains came at Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ (NASDAQ:VRTX) expense. Vertex, which launched its own hepatitis C drug, Incivek, in May, saw its shares plummet more than 9% to $33.22 on its competitors’ red-letter reports. Vertex has lost almost 16% in November after losing 11% in October, dampening an otherwise great third quarter in which Incivek sales grew almost 600% and the company reached profitability for the first time. Flat sales from September from October already cast doubt over whether Incivek could meet analyst expectations of $2 billion in sales for next year, so the success of two rivals’ drugs doesn’t bode well for Vertex.
Shaking and baking on its own dime was the world’s biggest biotech company, Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), which announced a $5 billion share repurchase that was met with a 6% bump in share price, putting AMGN near a four-month high at $58.43. The company made nice with shareholders earlier this year, too, when it declared its first quarterly dividend (28 cents). Amgen will begin buying back shares Tuesday around $54 to $60 apiece, according to Bloomberg.Three Up
As of this writing, Kyle Woodley did not own a position in any of the aforementioned stocks. Check out recaps from previous trading days here.