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MacroGenics Soars in the Biotech Casino

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MacroGenics Soars in the Biotech Casino

Elias Stein

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Investors in MacroGenics can be excused for feeling a bit of whiplash.

Before the market opened this past Wednesday, the little biotech announced positive results for a phase 3 trial of margetuximab, a breast-cancer treatment. The stock then roared higher, closing at $25.60, up 130%. That’s the kind of move biotech investors dream of, but for every Sarepta Therapeutics , which soars on a drug’s success, there’s a MannKind , a multiyear money loser.

Last March, MacroGenics hit $32.74, before crumbling by almost 70% until Wednesday. That wild round trip illustrates the reality that biotechs largely trade as options on the outcome of drug trials or applications for Food and Drug Administration approval. In 2018’s first three quarters, MacroGenics lost $126.8 million, on just $44.3 million in revenue.

Part of the reason for MacroGenics’ surge was that expectations were so low. On Monday, a Citigroup analyst, Dr. Yigal Nochomovitz, issued a Sell rating on the stock, and gave the trial a 75% chance of failure.

Now, Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat sees margetuximab generating more than $650 million a year in sales. A Nomura analyst, Dr. Christopher Marai, adding in the value of other drugs in MacroGenics’ pipeline, has a $41 target on the stock. FDA approval is the next hurdle for margetuximab. Uncertainty, of course, remains. So, those who’ve done well in the biotech casino might do what some veteran Las Vegas gamblers advise: If you win big, cash out.

--Nicholas Jasinski

Monday 11

Brighthouse Financial , FMC , Loews , Restaurant Brands International , and Vornado Realty Trust report quarterly results.

Japan’s financial markets are closed for National Foundation Day.

Norfolk Southern hosts an investor and financial analyst conference in Atlanta to discuss its new strategic plan.

Tuesday 12

Activision Blizzard , Fidelity National Information Services , Martin Marietta Materials , Occidental Petroleum , Under Armour , and Welltower report earnings.

Franklin Resources hosts its annual shareholder meeting in San Mateo, Calif.

The National Federation of Independent Business reports its Small Business Optimism Index for January. Expectations are for a 103 reading, down from December’s 104.4.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary for December. Economists forecast a seven million reading, up from November’s 6.9 million.

Wednesday 13

American International Group , Barrick Gold , Cisco Systems , Hilton Worldwide Holdings , MGM Resorts International , Pioneer Natural Resources , and Teva Pharmaceutical report quarterly results.

TD Ameritrade hosts its annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Neb.

The BLS reports the consumer price index for January. Consensus estimates are for a year-over-year rise of 1.5%, down from December’s 1.9%. Excluding volatile food and energy, the CPI is expected to rise 2.1%, compared with December’s 2.2%.

Thursday 14

Applied Materials , Arista Networks , CBS , CME Group , Coca Cola , Duke Energy , Nvidia , Waste Management , and Zoetis hold conference calls to discuss quarterly results.

Varian Medical Systems holds its annual shareholder meeting in Palo Alto.

The BLS releases its producer price index for January. Expectations are for a 0.1% rise after a fall of 0.2% in December. Excluding food and energy, the index is seen rising 0.2% after declining by 0.1% in December.

The Census Bureau reports data on business inventories for November. Economists forecast a 0.3% rise to $2.04 trillion, after gaining to 0.6%, to $1.98 trillion, in October.

Friday 15

Deere , Moody’s , Newell Brands , and PepsiCo report earnings.

The University of Michigan reports its Consumer Sentiment Survey for February. Consensus estimates call for a rebound to 94 from January’s 91.2.

The BLS reports export and import price data for January. Prices are expected to decline by 0.2% for both export and import. This compares with declines of 0.6% and 1% in December.

Another government shutdown looms today if no deal is reached between President Donald Trump and the Democrat-controlled House.

--Robert Teitelman and Dan Lam

Read more https://www.barrons.com/articles/macrogenics-soars-in-the-biotech-casino-51549672445

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