Early clinical data provided the wild ride for investors in 2020

Biotech stock volatility has increased markedly in the past couple of years, a separate Evaluate Vantage analysis reveals today, with share price jumps in reaction to clinical data becoming especially dramatic from 2019. Digging further into the data shows that investors have been responding with growing enthusiasm to results on projects of all stages, although it is notable how swings on phase I data really took off last year. Perhaps this can be partly explained by the maturing of cell and gene therapy research, where early data are taken as strong proof of concept. Or maybe it is simply a signal that biotech truly is enjoying a bull market – some of the more egregious valuation gains certainly defy logic. Examples of those spectacular phase I surges last year include Curis’s 355% jump on early signals with its Irak4 inhibitor in leukaemia, and two hikes for Adaptimmune. Confirmation of long overdue progress prompted a 200% jump at the start of the year, which was followed up with Asco data in May, and another 128% rise. The message for investors seems to be: play the phase I data for the big gains. 

The coloured boxes represent the middle quartiles of share price reaction, the whisker lines show maximum values, excluding outliers.

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