10 most-shorted biotech stocks of 2013
A lot of investors are betting these are going to fail. The No. 1 spot may surprise you.
Here's a list of 10 bio-pharma stocks with the highest short interest as we near the mid-point of 2013, according to S&P Capital IQ. Many of the stocks on this list won't surprise anyone because they've been bull-bear battlegrounds for years. You might be surprised by the stock with the highest short interest today, so read on.
10. InterMune (ITMN)
Short interest: 22% of float.
Shorts say: The European commercial launch of Esbriet for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis -- a progressive lung disease -- is still a slow work in progress. Competition could negatively impact InterMune next year when Boehringer Ingelheim is expected to announce results from phase III studies of vargatef. Then there's the uncertainty surrounding InterMune's own U.S.-based phase III study of Esbriet -- results are also expected next year.9. Hyperion Therapeutics (HPTX)
Short interest: 26% of float.
Shorts say: Can Hyperion really get away with charging $295,000 per year for Ravicti as a therapy for urea cycle disorders, even if it's more convenient than the less expensive alternative, Buphenyl?
8. Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA)
Short interest: 26.5% of float.
Shorts say: Belviq is a weak weight-loss drug. The commercial launch will be disappointing.
7. Sunesis Pharmaceuticals (SNSS)
Short interest: 26.5% of float.
Shorts say: The phase III study of vosaroxin in acute myeloid leukemia will fail. [The decision to upsize the study last September was a negative tell.] Top-line results expected in the first half of 2014.
6. Synta Pharmaceuticals (SNTA)
Short interest: 27% of float.
Shorts say: Synta designed the ongoing phase III lung cancer study of ganetespib around dubious, data-mined patient subgroup data. Like nearly all of these stories, the ending is tragic.
5. MannKind (MNKD)
Short interest: 29% of float.
Shorts say: Inhaled insulin? Really? Bwhahahaha!
4. Ziopharm Oncology (ZIOP)
Short interest: 33% of float.
Shorts say: R.J. Kirk is full of $%^&.
3. Dendreon (DNDN)
Short interest: 35% of float.
Shorts say: Going out of business.
2. Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI)
Short interest: 37% of float.
Shorts say: Is Raj still CEO? He is? Short!
And the most highly shorted biotech stock in 2013 is...
1. Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT)
Short interest: 37.5% of float.
Shorts say: No eteplirsen accelerated approval.
(The drug is for the treatment of some mutations that cause Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic degenerative muscle disease.)
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These companies won't soar like other plays in the sector, but they make for great income sources.
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