Zacks analyst blog spotlights Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Moderna and Seagen


For immediate release

Chicago, IL – November 17, 2022 – announces the list of stocks featured in the analyst blog. Every day, Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. MACK, Moderna MRNA and Seagen SGEN.

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s analyst blog:

Biotech Stock Roundup: Study Data, Vaccine Updates and More

Drug approvals and other regulatory news are top of mind for the biotech industry. Updates on COVID-19 vaccine booster doses are also in the spotlight as the winter season approaches, which is expected to see a spike in the infection rate.

Recap of the most important stories of the week:

Merrimack increases positive data per partner: Shares of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc.. skyrocketed after its partner Ipsen announced that the NAPOLI 3 phase III trial of Onivyde (irinotecan liposome injection) plus 5 fluorouracil/leucovorin and oxaliplatin (NALIRIFOX regimen) had been successful. The trial achieved its main objective.

Study data demonstrated a clinically significant and statistically significant improvement in overall survival compared to nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine in 770 previously untreated patients with metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (mPDAC). In addition, the study met its key secondary endpoint of progression-free survival with a safety profile consistent with the previous study.

Investors applauded the data as Merrimack is entitled to receive up to $450 million in conditional milestone payments related to its sale of Onivyde to Ipsen SA in April 2017. These payments are subject to the approval of Onivyde by the FDA for certain additional clinical indications. The drug is already FDA-approved in combination with fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin (LV) for the treatment of patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas after disease progression after gemcitabine-based therapy.

Moderna vaccine achieves its goals: Modern announcement that the Phase II/III study evaluating its two bivalent Omicron-based COVID-19 vaccines, mRNA-1273.222 and mRNA-1273.214, met its study objectives. Shares earned on the same. mRNA-1273.222 induced significantly higher neutralizing antibody titers against BA.4/BA.5 compared to a booster dose of the original COVID vaccine, Spikevax (mRNA-1273), in a phase II study/ III in more than 500 adults.

The bivalent vaccines also met the immunogenicity criteria of non-inferiority to the parent strain. While mRNA-1273.222 contains the spike protein in the BA.4/5 Omicron subvariants, mRNA-1273.214 contains the spike protein in the BA.1 Omicron subvariant.

An exploratory analysis of the data also revealed that both bivalent vaccines demonstrated robust neutralizing activity against BQ.1.1, an emerging variant of COVID-19. The result of this analysis confirmed that bivalent vaccines are effective against new and evolving variants. However, the neutralizing activity of these vaccines against the BQ.1.1 variant dropped 5-fold in titers compared to the BA.4/5 variants.

Seagen’s Adcetris Tag Extension: seagen announced that the FDA has approved its lead cancer drug, Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin), for a New indication. Adcetris is now approved in combination with doxorubicin, vincristine, etoposide, prednisone and cyclophosphamide for the treatment of pediatric patients aged two years and older with previously untreated high-risk classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The approval was based on a phase III study (AHOD1331) which demonstrated a 59% reduction in the risk of disease progression or relapse, second malignancy or death compared to standard therapy.

Seagen currently wears a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the full list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

BrainStorm Provides Regulatory Update: BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. announced that the company received a denial to file a letter from the FDA regarding its new Biologics License Application (BLA) for NurOwn for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The regulator said the company can request an A-type meeting to discuss the content of the denial of filing letter.

BrainStorm owns the clinical development and commercialization rights to the NurOwn technology platform used to produce autologous MSC-NTF cells through an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement. The Phase III NurOwn trial was a multicenter, placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind trial designed to assess the safety and efficacy of repeated doses of NurOwn in 189 ALS participants

Brainstorm intends to request a Type A meeting with the FDA for the same. As part of the Type A meeting, the company plans to discuss with the FDA a path toward an FDA advisory committee meeting.

The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index has gained 3.12% over the past five trading sessions. Among the biotech giants, Moderna gained 12.67% over the period. Over the past six months, shares of Biogen have climbed 51.11%. (See the latest roundup of biotech stocks here: Biotech Stock Roundup: REGN, AMGN, MRNA Q3 Earnings, VERV Lower on Update)

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Past performance is not indicative of future results. The potential for loss is inherent in any investment. This document is provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security. No recommendation or advice is given as to whether any investment is suitable for any particular investor. It should not be assumed that investments in the securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described have been or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date hereof and is subject to change without notice. The views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the company as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management of securities. These returns come from hypothetical portfolios composed of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that have been rebalanced monthly without transaction fees. These are not the returns of actual stock portfolios. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for more information on the performance figures displayed in this press release.

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Moderna, Inc. (MRNA): Free Stock Analysis Report

Seagen Inc. (SGEN): Free Stock Analysis Report

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (MACK): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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