"Thu Aug 16, 2007
abolutely shocking! bottom 2.6 cents Market Pulse: Biotech suffers from another poor day Nick Evans Thursday, 16 August 2007 IT'S been a grim couple of weeks for biotech stocks, as bloodletting on the broader market again impacted on the value of the biotech sector. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index came down 176.8 points to 5788 and the All Ordinaries finished down 181 points to 5801.5. Eighty-four of BTN's watchlist fell yesterday, 48 by 5% or more. Only 15 gained any ground, and the remainder either did not trade, or remained unchanged. As always, those biotech companies with a positive story to tell fared the best, led by OBJ, the Perth-based drug delivery company which announced that it had scored a major coup by recruiting Dr Ian Frazer to assist with OBJ's drug delivery subsidiary, OBJ Transdermal Vaccines (OBJTV). The company's shares climbed 0.5c to 6c on receipt of the news – gaining around 9% from the announcement. pSivida also had a positive day, as news of the company's positive clinical results from its BrachySil clinical trial finally began to penetrate into the market's thinking, and IMD, Anadis and Genetic Technologies also traded up a little, although all remained within their usual trading range. The big move of the day, however, was Progen, trading back into positive territory after announcing that its liver cancer drug, PI-88, was likely to receive orphan drug status after receiving a positive review by the Committee for Orphan Medical Products (COMP) of the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA). Progen shares gained 14c for the day, to close at $3.30. Prima BioMed was the biggest loser, shedding 1.5c, or 24%, in late trading to close at 4.7c. Prima almost trebled in value Tuesday, after a minor announcement about an Australian patent grant sparked a frenzy by day traders, who bumped its value from around 1.9c to 6.2c over the course of the day. Prima continued its good run yesterday morning, trading up to 8.7c, a high for the year, until the news that executive director Eugene Kopp had ditched almost his entire holding prompted a scramble for the exit, and the shares plunged back down. Almost 306 million Prima shares changed hands yesterday – including some 16.5 million of Kopp's – which is several times the company's total shares out in the market. KarmelSonix also registered a significant fall, back down to 17c from 20.5c, although the company does appear to have found a new range, having previously traded at around 5–6c before the last month's dramatic rise in value. Metabolic also continued its slump, shedding another 0.5c to close at 5.3c – under half of what it was on Monday, before the company announced that it would be abandoning another drug in Phase 2 trials. Fermiscan also continued its lacklustre recent run, dropping another 27c to close at $1.45. Of the majors, CSL dropped $2.56 to close at $88.50, ResMed lost 21c to close at $4.88, while Cochlear continued to ride positive annual results to record a small increase of 9c to close at $63.34. Most of the late stage small cap companies recorded marginal falls of between 1% and 5%, with the exception of Clinuvel which gained 1c to close at 70c."