3 Horrendous Health-Care Stocks This Week

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Have you ever said, "It could always be worse?" If this week hasn't gone so great for you, just take a look at what happened with these three health-care stocks.

Hapless Heplisav
It seems that if Dynavax didn't have bad luck, it would have no luck at all these days. Shares plummeted 53% this week after the Food and Drug Administration ruled that another safety trial will be required for hepatitic B vaccine Heplisav.

In February, the FDA told the company that it wouldn't approve Heplisav without additional safety testing. That decision followed a negative recommendation by an FDA advisory panel in November. Dynavax had hoped that evaluating the drug with smaller groups of patients would sway the FDA, but the agency said that it needed data from more patients to approve Heplisav for a broader range of adults.


At this point, Dynavax doesn't have much choice other than to proceed with further safety testing. The company also must address manufacturing and testing concerns raised by the FDA.

Natural enemy
Genmark Diagnostics saw its shares fall 20% this week on good news. Unfortunately, that good news was for one of its competitors.

Privately held Natural Molecular Testing Corporation announced on Tuesday a launch of its expanded Personalized Medicine Panel. The bad news for Genmark is that the product is built on technology from rival Luminex. Luminex is significantly larger than Genmark, with 2012 revenue approximately 10 times greater.

Financial terms of the deal between Natural Molecular Testing Corporation and Luminex were not announced. However, Genmark will undoubtedly feel the sting. Natural Molecular is the company's biggest customer, accounting for around 60% of revenue.

Malaise momentum
Synta Pharmaceuticals looks to have carried over momentum from last week into this week. However, that momentum is negative. Shares plunged 38% last week, and dropped another 12% this week.

The company didn't make any major new announcements over the last several days. Instead, it appears that investors continue to fret about mid-stage clinical results for lung cancer drug ganetespib that Synta shared last week. While the drug showed improvement in survival rates, the results weren't as impressive as earlier findings.

With the continued sell-off, Synta's shares are down nearly 60% for the year. Some insiders at the company seem to think the stock's price looks attractive at these lower levels. CEO Safi Bahcall, Chief Medical Officer Vojo Vukovic, and board member Robert Wilson each bought 10,000 shares in early June. Another director on the board, Bruce Kovner, purchased 2 million shares over the past couple of weeks.

Feeling better
Maybe seeing the travails of others makes you feel a little better by comparison. I'm not sure how quickly shareholders of these three horrendous health-care stocks of the week will feel better, though. If I had to pick the one that is most likely to bounce back, I would go with Synta, mainly because of the insider buying.

Quite honestly, though, I wouldn't put my money on any of these three stocks right now. Things could always get worse.

While you can sometimes make huge gains in biotech and pharmaceuticals, the best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. The Motley Fool's free report, "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich," names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.

The article 3 Horrendous Health-Care Stocks This Week originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Keith Speights has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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