One of the hottest sectors this year is biotechnology and penny stocks are a big part of that. The fact that more than 9 months of this year have been focused on the space is unfounded. In fact, I don’t remember one industry in recent history that has so captivated the stock market as much as this.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 9-ish months, you have a good idea what started it. The coronavirus pandemic is a big factor. But what began with the likes of Pfizer (PFE Stock Report) and Regeneron’s (REGN Stock Report) flight to be first to the vaccine space has evolved. Now we’re seeing a broader focus not only on COVID-biotech but more broad biotech including pain management and immunotherapy.
These were two of the hottest biotech niches prior to the pandemic taking the spotlight. We’ve also got some big M&A as well as partnership news from some of the market leaders. Gilead’s (GILD Stock Report) and Immunomedics’ $21 billion combination sparked a rebirth of sorts for cancer stocks. What’s more, is that the repetitive news regarding COVID-19 vaccine trials getting put on pause has impacted biotech stocks as well.
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Last week we saw AstraZeneca (AZN Stock Report) pause its trials. This week it was Eli Lilly (LLY Stock Report) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ Stock Report). As we know, the market doesn’t like uncertainty so we’ve either seen traders rotate into other coronavirus vaccine stocks or into completely different healthcare niches altogether.Biotech Penny Stocks To Watch
- GT Biopharma Inc. (GTBP Stock Report)
- Akebia Therapeutics (AKBA Stock Report)
- Interpace Biosciences, Inc. (IDXG Stock Report)
- Oncocyte Corporation (OCX Stock Report)
- Novan, Inc. (NOVN Stock Report)
Heading into the remainder of the month, there is already a slew of other biotech penny stocks gaining attention. Will these find their way onto your list before the end of October 2020?Biotech Penny Stocks To Watch #1: GT Biopharma Inc.
GT Biopharma Inc. is one of the small cap biotech stocks to watch this month. The company’s uptick in trading momentum began with a Phase trial update and has progressed with news of potential expansion of its platform. Late last month, GT announced an update on its current Phase I/II trial for its acute myeloid leukemia treatment candidate, GTB-3550. Specifically, it completed treatment of the first patient enrolled at Dose Level 3 in the trial. Results were very favorable based on the company’s report. Not only did the company observe a decrease in AML blast levels from 18% to 12% in the bone marrow, the patient also showed improvement in marrow cellularity.
GTB-3550 is built on the company’s TriKE™ technology. It’s a combination protein that bridges an immune cell and a tumor cell to drive tumor cell killing power exponentially. The unique part about this technology is that it is somewhat of an agnostic platform based on early findings. TriKE™ has been evaluated in ovarian, breast, prostate, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and lung cancer models. According to GT Biopharma, it demonstrated a significant reduction in tumor burden in animal models. It also boosted overall survival in animal models of solid tumor cancers.
This month, not only has the company inked a partnership agreement with Cytovance® Biologics to expand the development of TriKE™, the company also added to its advisory board to focus on further advancing the platform to address other cancers like prostate. Since the start of October, GTBP stock has managed to climb as high as $0.25 so far as volume has also increased.Biotech Penny Stocks To Watch #2: Akebia Therapeutics
Akebia Therapeutics is also one of the top biotech penny stocks to watch right now. The company continues mounting a recovery after dropping like a rock in early September. The initial tumble stemmed from missing its safety MACE endpoint in its PRO2TECT phase 3 program evaluating the efficacy and safety of its vadadustat; Akebia’s investigational anemia treatment.
However, since then, AKBA stock has climbed significantly higher. Month-to-date, Akebia’s stock price has bounced 40%. This week Akebia said it will present its late-stage data from vadadustat drug trials in anemia patients, at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2020 Reimagined. The event is being held next week from October 22nd through the 25th.
Despite missing its safety endpoint in September, that trial also considered vadadustat in patients not on dialysis. In May, Akebia reported positive top-line results of vadadustat to treat anemia in adult patients on dialysis. The experimental drug met its primary and key secondary efficacy endpoints during that trial. It also achieved the primary safety endpoint.Biotech Penny Stocks To Watch #3: Interpace Biosciences, Inc.
Interpace Biosciences, Inc., similar to Akebia, felt the pressure of negative headlines earlier this year. Earlier this year, the company received letters from employees, one of whom left the company concerned over certain employment and billing & compliance matters. Interpace informed its Audit Committee and Regulatory Compliance Committee as well as its independent registered public accounting firm.
Fast-forward to this month and IDXG stock is surging. The main catalyst behind the move right now was results of the investigation. Wednesday morning, Interpace announce that the investigation concluded that allegations made were unsubstantiated and there wasn’t any evidence of illegal acts committed.
Prior to the drama, the company had been ramping up its pipeline. In July, Interpace announced the acceptance of a seminal clinical validation study of a combo of its ThyGeNEXT® and ThyraMIR® for publication in an industry journal. The findings showed, successful stratification of nearly 200 indeterminate thyroid nodules for risk of malignancy. With renewed interest and a favorable outcome to its investigation, will IDXG get back in the swing of things? Prior to the drop, shares traded consistently above $6.Biotech Penny Stocks To Watch #4: Oncocyte Corporation
Oncocyte Corp. gapped up during premarket trading on Wednesday as shares reached highs of $2.52 prior to the opening bell. The company annoucned new prospective data on its DetermaRx™ will be presented at the IASLC 2020 North America Conference on Lung Cancer. DetermaRx is a treatment stratification test that identifies stage I-IIA non-small cell lung cancer patients at high-risk of recurrence despite ostensibly curative surgery.
What’s more, high-risk status as identified by the DetermaRx test was used to inform the use of adjuvant chemotherapy. According to the company, 94% of patients who selected adjuvant chemotherapy were cancer-free after five years of follow-up. One of the biggest advancements based on the data is that Oncocyte starts offering EGFR mutation testing and DetermaRx on the same sample starting this quarter.
One of the things we continue discussing is gapping penny stocks that have or don’t have followthrough. This news has acted as a strong catalysts, obviously, based on the premarket trend. Can this momentum continue through the rest of the month?Biotech Penny Stocks To Watch #5: Novan, Inc.
Novan, Inc. is another premarket gapper on Wednesday morning. Similar to Oncocyte, Novan has also come out with positive news. Again, keep in mind that just because shares are surging during premarket, that might not be the case when the market actually opens. Needless to say, what’s moving NOVN stock on Wednesday has a lot to do with COVID-related news.
The company announced positive in vitro results of NITRICIL™ platform technology. The results showed the potential efficacy of its NITRICIL™ as an antiviral against SARS-CoV-2. Novan initiated in vitro assessments targeting the reduction of viral burden on human bronchial epithelial cells to evaluate NITRICIL™ as a potential nasal treatment option
Novan said that it plans to initiate Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls work with a “global leader” in providing integrated services, superior delivery technologies, and manufacturing solutions. The focus is developing an intranasal formulation of berdazimer sodium for use in Novan’s COVID-19 program. Dr. Carri Geer, Senior Vice President, and Chief Technology Officer said, “We are in the process of finalizing arrangements with a global leader in drug development to assist in our development activities as we work toward a potential IND filing targeted in 2021.”