5 Best Biotech Stocks To Watch Right Now

NEW YORK — Jurors in the fraud case of five former Bernard Madoff employees will see the Ponzi scheme architect himself — via excerpts from a 2007 video.

U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain on Friday granted granted a defense motion to stage the courtroom screening to give jurors a visual example of exactly how persuasive the disgraced financier could be.

The video shows Madoff addressing a New York City conference on “The Future of the Stock Market” and arguing that then-current securities regulations provided a sufficient safeguard against fraud.

“It does not mean there are not abuses, for sure, but by and large in today’s regulatory environment, it’s virtually impossible to violate the rules,” he told the conference gathering, according to an excerpt cited by Eric Breslin, the defense lawyer for former Madoff employee JoAnn Crupi.

5 Best Biotech Stocks To Wa tch Right Now: Protalix Biotherapeutics Inc (PLX)

Protalix BioTherapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of recombinant therapeutic proteins based on its ProCellEx protein expression system, ProCellEx. Using its ProCellEx system, the Company is developing a pipeline of biosimilar or generic versions of recombinant therapeutic proteins based on its plant cell-based expression technology, which focuses pharmaceutical markets and that rely upon known biological mechanisms of action. ProCellEx protein expression system consists of a set of technologies and capabilities for the development of recombinant proteins, including advanced genetic engineering technology and plant cell-based protein expression methods. Its ProCellEx protein expression system is built on flexible custom-designed bioreactors made of polyethylene and optimized for the development of complex proteins in plant cell cultures. In June 2010, it had completed the preliminary phase I clinical trial of PRX- 105.

Taliglucerase Alfa

Taliglucerase alfa is a plant cell expressed recombinant glucocerebrosidase enzyme (GCD) for the treatment of Gaucher disease. The Company has commenced pre-clinical studies of an oral form of taliglucerase alfa. Its oral taliglucerase alfa is a plant cell expressed form of GCD that is naturally encapsulated within carrot cells genetically engineered to express the GCD enzyme. Pre-clinical studies of oral taliglucerase alfa demonstrate the stability of the enzyme in the cell and the capacity of the cell’s cellulose wall to protect the enzyme against degradation in the digestive tract in an in-vitro model of the stomach and intestines. Additionally, rats fed with lyophilized carrot cells expressing GCD have accumulated the active enzyme in the target organs; the spleen and liver. As of December 31, 2010, the Company had completed Phase III Clinical Trial.

PRX-102

The Company is developing PRX-102, i ts plant cell expressed modified version of the recombinant ! alpha-GAL-A protein, a therapeutic enzyme for the treatment of Fabry disease. Fabry disease is a rare, hereditary, genetic lysosomal storage disorder in humans caused by an X-lined deficiency of the alpha-GAL-A enzyme. The Company is in the animal evaluation testing phase of the development of PRX-102, which tests are based on a mouse model for Fabry disease.

Acetylcholinesterase

Protalix Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company is licensed the rights to certain technology under a research and license agreement with Yissum Research and Development Company (Yissum) and the Boyce Thompson Institute, Inc. Pursuant to the agreement, the Company is developing PRX-105, a plant cell-based acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and its molecular variants for the use in several therapeutic and prophylactic indications, as well as in a biodefense program and an organophosphate-based pesticide treatment program.

As of December 31, 2010, its in-vitr o experiments of PRX-105 have shown that the acetylcholinesterase enzyme in its ProCellEx protein expression system demonstrates biological activity on biochemical and cellular levels. In addition, early animal studies demonstrated that the acetylcholinesterase expressed in its ProCellEx protein expression system was able to treat animals exposed to the nerve gas agent analogues, both when injected with its acetylcholinesterase product candidate immediately before exposure or when injected after exposure. In March 2010, it initiated a preliminary phase I clinical trial of PRX-105, which the Company completed in June 2010.

pr-antiTNF

pr-antiTNF is a candidate for the treatment of certain autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing, spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis. The Company has designed the antiTNF as pr-antiTNF. pr-antiTNF is a plant cell-expressed recombinant fusion protein ma de from the soluble form of the human TNF receptor (TNFR), f! used to t! he Fc component of a human antibody domain. pr-antiTNF has an identical amino acid sequence to Enbrel and its in-vitro and preclinical animal studies have demonstrated that pr-antiTNF exhibits similar activity to Enbrel. Specifically, pr-antiTNF binds TNF thereby inhibiting it from binding to cellular surface TNF receptors and protects L929 cells from TNF-induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner.

The Company competes with Genzyme, Actelion, Crucell N.V., Biolex, Inc., Chlorogen, Inc., Greenovation Biotech GmbH, Symbiosys, Novartis AG/Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, BioGeneriX AG, Stada Arzneimittel AG, BioPartners GmbH and Teva.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Maxx Chatsko]

    Industrial biotech isn’t the only industry headed to Brazil. Protalix (NYSEMKT: PLX  ) entered into a technology transfer agreement with Brazil’s Ministry of Health last week that will pay the company $280 million. The deal is big news for Protalix’s first product, Elelyso/Uplyso, which was developed with partner Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) . The treatment is approved as an enzyme replacement therapy, or ERT, for adults with type 1 Gaucher disease, and it marks a huge step forward for the future of biomanufacturing. In the following video, Fool contributor Maxx Chatsko explains what this means for the product’s commercialization and the adoption of Protalix’s novel plant cell-based expression system for therapeutic proteins.

  • [By Keith Speights]

    Other investors might wish that Pfizer would use some of its cash to acquire a few smaller companies. Protalix BioTherapeutics (NYSEMKT: PLX  ) has been mentioned as one possible candidate. The two companies already partner together on Gaucher disease drug Elelyso. In February, Protalix spurred rumors that Pfizer could be interested in buying the company after it announced that it had engaged Citigroup to pursue a “broad array of strategic alternatives.”

5 Best Biotech Stocks To Watch Right Now: Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc.(CBST)

Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, focuses on the research, development, and commercialization of pharmaceutical products that address unmet medical needs in the acute care environment. The company markets CUBICIN (daptomycin for injection), a once-daily, bactericidal, intravenous, antibiotic with activity against gram-positive organisms, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. Its clinical development product pipeline consists of CXA-201, which is in the phase III clinical trial for patients with complicated urinary tract infections; and in phase II clinical trial for patients with complicated abdominal infections. The company is also developing CXA-201 for the treatment of hospital acquired pneumonia. In addition, its product under development comprises CB-183,315, an oral, bactericidal lipopeptide with in vitro bactericidal activity against C. difficile, for the treatment of clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD). Further , the company?s pre-clinical programs include therapies to treat various bacterial infections and agents to treat acute pain. Additionally, it promotes MERREM I.V. (meropenem for injection), a carbapenem class intravenous antibiotic, in the United States under a commercial services agreement with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP; and DIFICID as the treatment for CDAD in adults under the co-promotion agreement with Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The company also has collaborations with Forma Therapeutics, Inc. to discover and develop antibacterial compounds; an agreement with the Broad Institute to transform natural products discovery; a collaboration with Hydra Biosciences, Inc., to develop ion channel drugs; and a collaboration agreement with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., for the development and commercialization of Alnylam’s RNAi therapeutics as a therapy for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus. The company was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in Lexington, Ma s sachusetts.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sean Williams]

    What: Shares of Cubist Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CBST  ) , a biopharmaceutical company devoted to developing acute care therapies, added 12% following the announcement of its second-quarter earnings results.

  • [By Jake Keator]

    Shares of Cubist Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CBST  ) exploded upward on Friday, finishing up over 9%. The company reported strong second-quarter results Thursday, beating average analyst estimates for both revenue and EPS. Total net revenues were $258.8 million, up 12.2% over Q2 2012, while non-GAAP diluted EPS was $0.42. Average analyst estimates were $254.73 million for revenue and EPS of $0.38.

  • [By Rich Bieglmeier]

    Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CBST) share price is the beneficiary of an upgrade yesterday. Leerink Swann analyst Marko Kozul believes the biotech is headed to $76.

5 Best Biotech Stocks To Watch Right Now: Prosensa Holding NV (RNA)

Prosensa Holding N.V., formerly Prosensa Holding B.V., is a biotechnology company engaged in the discovery and development of ribonucleic acid-modulating (RNA)-modulating, therapeutics for the treatment of genetic disorders. The Company’s primary focus is on rare neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disorders with a large unmet medical need, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy, myotonic dystrophy and Huntington’s disease. The Company’s clinical portfolio of RNA-based product candidates is focused on the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The Company’s platform technology allows the development of RNA-modulating therapeutics that either interferes with splicing (exon skipping, exon inclusion, or splice mutation correction), remove mutant RNA, or block RNA expression, for different indications.

DMD is a rare, severe muscle wasting disease that occurs in up to 1 in 3,500 male births. It is commonly diagnosed between the ages of three to five , when boys begin to show signs of impaired motor development. PRO044, the Company’s product candidate, addresses a separate sub-population of DMD patients. The Company developed PRO044 using its exon-skipping technology to generate a product candidate with the same mechanism of action that is used by drisapersen.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Prosensa Holding NV (NASDAQ: RNA) soared 25.89% to $8.51 in the pre-market trading after the company reported 48-week data from Phase 2 placebo-controlled study of drisapersen in 51 DMD boys.

  • [By Leo Sun]

    However, these three biotech stocks — Amarin (NASDAQ: AMRN  ) , Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN  ) , Prosensa (NASDAQ: RNA  ) — don’t fit that category at all. Read on to understand why these dogs of the sector should never be mistaken as underdogs.

  • [By Sean Williams]

    Shares of Sarepta climbed to a 52-week high of $55.61 in September shortly after an experimental rival drug, drisapersen, developed by Prosensa (NASDAQ: RNA  ) and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK  ) , missed its primary end point by a mile in late-stage trials. However, Sarepta also tanked just weeks later after the Food and Drug Administration decided against supporting an accelerated drug approval for eteplirsen; the agency would not make the connection that increased dystrophin production led to its remarkable trial results. Also, given the recent failure of drisapersen in a phase 3 study, the FDA felt it pertinent that Sarepta engage in a broader study. Shares ultimately dipped as low as $12.12. 

  • [By John Udovich]

    It should also be mentioned that earlier in the week, GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE: GSK) returned full rights of Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug drisapersen to their partner Prosensa Holding NV (NASDAQ: RNA) and that news sent shares down 12.48% on Monday. Moreover, Prosensa Holding also sank some 70% last fall when Drisapersen failed a phase 3 trial by missing a primary endpoint measuring for how far patients could walk over the course of six minutes (the improvement wasn’t significantly better than the placebo). However, Prosensa Holding also rose 24.37% yesterday after announcing initial findings from further analyses from the aggregate data for drisapersen, with the CEO saying:

5 Best Biotech Stocks To Watch Right Now: Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (INO)

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., incorporated on June 29, 1983, is engaged in the development of a new generation of vaccines, called synthetic vaccines, focused on cancers and infectious diseases. The Company’s SynCon technology enables the design of universal vaccines capable of providing cross-protection against existing or changing strains of pathogens, such as influenza and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The Company’s electroporation delivery technology uses brief, controlled electrical pulses to increase cellular uptake of the vaccine. Its clinical programs include cervical dysplasia (therapeutic), avian influenza (preventive), prostate cancer (therapeutic), leukemia (therapeutic), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV vaccines. It is advancing preclinical research and clinical development for a universal seasonal/pandemic influenza vaccine, as well as preclinical work for other products, including malaria and prostate cancer vaccines. Its partners and collaborators incl ude University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, National Microbiology Laboratory of the Public Health Agency of Canada, Program for Appropriate Technology in Health/Malaria Vaccine Initiative (PATH/MVI), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Merck, ChronTech, University of Southampton, United States Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP), the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and HIV Vaccines Trial Network (HVTN). As of December 31, 2011 it owned 16.1% interest in VGX Int’l.

Inovio’s Solution

The Company’s synthetic vaccine platform consists of its SynCon vaccine design process and electroporation delivery technology. It has developed a preclinical and clinical stage pipeline of vaccines. The Company’s synthetic vaccines are designed to prevent a disease (prophylactic vaccines) or treat an existing disease (therapeutic vaccines). Its synthetic vaccine consists of a deo xyribonucleic acid (DNA) plasmid encoding a selected antigen! (s), which is introduced into cells of humans or animals with the purpose of evoking an immune response to the encoded antigen. The Company’s synthetic vaccines are designed to generate specific antibody and/or T-cell responses.

The Company’s SynCon technology provides processes that employ bioinformatics, which combine extensive genetic data and sophisticated algorithms. Its design process uses the genetic make-up of a common antigen(s) from multiple strains of a virus within a viral sub-type or taxonomic group (family) of pathogens, such as HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), human papillomavirus (HPV), influenza and other diseases to synthetically create a new antigen for the desired pathogen target that does not exist in nature. Its synthetic vaccine candidates are being delivered into cells of the body using its electroporation (EP) DNA delivery technology.

Cancer Synthetic Vaccines

The Company has two broad types of cancer vaccines : preventive (or prophylactic) vaccines, which are intended to prevent cancer from developing in healthy people, and treatment (or therapeutic) vaccines, which are intended to treat an existing cancer by strengthening the body’s natural defenses against the cancer. Two types of cancer preventive vaccines are available in the United States. The United States Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) has approved two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix that protect against infection by the two types of HPV-types 16 and 18-that cause approximately 70% of all cases of cervical cancer worldwide. In addition, Gardasil protects against infection by two additional HPV types, 6 and 11, which are responsible for about 90% of all cases of genital warts in males and females but do not cause cervical cancer.

Cervarix manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, is composed of virus-like particles (VLPs) made with proteins from HPV types 16 and 18. Cervarix is approved for use in females’ a ges 10 to 25 for the prevention of cervical cancer caused by! HPV type! s 16 and 18. Gardasil manufactured by Merck, is approved for use in females for the prevention of cervical cancer, and some vulvar and vaginal cancers, caused by HPV types 16 and 18 and for use in males and females for the prevention of genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11. The vaccine is approved for these uses in females and males ages 9 to 26. The FDA has also approved a cancer preventive vaccine that protects against hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

Inovio’s VGX-3100 is designed to raise immune responses against the E6 and E7 genes of HPV types 16 and 18 that are present in both pre-cancerous and cancerous cells transformed by these HPV types. E6 and E7 are oncogenes that play an integral role in transforming HPV-infected cells into cancerous cells. In March 2011, it initiated a randomized, double-blind Phase II study of VGX-3100 delivered using the CELLECTRA intramuscular electroporation device in women with HPV Type 16 or 18 and diagnosed with, but not yet treated for, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) 2/3. The study is designed to enroll 148 subjects. In January 2011, it announced the publication of a scientific paper in the journal Human Vaccines detailing potent immune responses in a preclinical study of its SynCon vaccine for prostate cancer targeting two antigens, prostate specific antigen (PSA) and prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA).

In January 2011, the Company announced the regulatory approval of a Phase II clinical trial (WIN Trial) to treat leukemia utilizing its new ELGEN 1000 automated vaccine delivery device. The single dose level, Phase II study, called WT1 immunity via DNA fusion gene vaccination in haematological malignancies by intramuscular injection followed by intramuscular electroporation. Cancer Vaccines encodes for hTERT, an antigen related to non-small cell lung, breast and prostate cancers. The vaccine is delivered using its electroporation delivery technology.

Infectious Disease Synthetic Vaccines

In Marc! h 2011, the Company announced the initiation of a follow-on open label, single dose Phase II clinical study in collaboration with ChronTech of the ChronVac-C HCV DNA vaccine delivered using its electroporation technology in treatment naive HCV infected individuals. Its HIV vaccines consist of candidates for HIV prevention, as well as therapy or treatment. PENNVAX-B is designed to target HIV clade B (most commonly found in the United States, North America, Australia and the European Union (EU). PENNVAX-G is designed to target HIV clades A, C and D, which are more commonly found in Asia, Africa, Russia and South America. This Phase I clinical study of PENNVAX-B (HVTN-080) vaccinated 48 healthy, HIV-negative volunteers to assess safety and levels of immune responses generated by Inovio’s PENNVAX-B vaccine delivered with its CELLECTRA electroporation device. PENNVAX-B is a SynCon vaccine that targets HIV gag, pol, and env proteins.

The Company’s VGX-3400X targe ts H5N1. The vaccine consists of three distinct DNA plasmids coded for a consensus hemagglutinin (HA) antigen derived from different H5N1 virus strains; a consensus neuraminidase (NA) antigen derived from different N1 sequences; and a consensus nucleoprotein (NP) fused to a small portion of the m2 protein (m2E) based on a broader cross-section of influenza viruses in addition to H5N1 and H1N1. Conventional vaccines are strain-specific and have limited ability to protect against genetic shifts in the influenza strains they target. They are therefore modified annually in anticipation of the next flu season’s new strain(s). It is focused on developing DNA-based influenza vaccines able to provide broad protection against known as well as newly emerging, unknown seasonal and pandemic influenza strains.

Animal Health/Veterinary

VGX Animal Health, Inc. (VGX AH), a majority-owned subsidiary, has licensed LifeTide, a plasmid-based growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) technology for swine. LifeTide is one of onl! y four DN! A-based treatments approved for use in animals and is the only DNA-based agent delivered using electroporation that has been granted marketing approval (Australia). VGX AH is also developing a GHRH-based treatment for cancer and anemia in dogs and cats. It is developing a synthetic vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) administered by its vaccine delivery technology. The FMD virus is one of the most infectious diseases affecting farm animals, including cattle, swine, sheep and goats, and is a serious threat to global food safety.

The Company competes with Crucell N.V, Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline plc, Merck, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Inc., Novartis, Inc., MedImmune and CSL.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: INO) was also up, gaining 10.53 percent to $3.57 after the company received the “Best Theraputic Vaccine” award at the World Vaccine Congress after the close Wednesday.

  • [By MONEYMORNING]

    Inovio Zooms: We recommended biotech Inovio Inc. (NYSE: INO) at 71 cents a share back on Feb. 1, 2013, and have re-recommended it a number of times since. With their 15.2% gain yesterday, the shares are now at $3.71, up 414% from where we first told you about them – and we believe there’s more to come. In fact, we’ll be bringing you an interesting update on this company very soon. Inovio is one of 24 recommendations that have doubled or better since we launched Private Briefing back in August 2011

5 Best Biotech Stocks To Watch Right Now: ImmunoCellular Therapeutics Ltd (IMUC)

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd., incorporated on March 20, 1987, is a clinical-stage biotechnology company. The Company is engaged in developing immune-based therapies for the treatment of cancers, such as brain, ovarian and other solid tumors. Immunotherapy is an approach to treat cancer in which a patient’s own immune system is stimulated to target tumor antigens, which are molecular signals that the immune system uses to identify foreign bodies. The Company’s products include ICT-107, ICT-140, ICT-120, ICT-109 and DIAAD. ICT-107, the pipeline product, is a Phase II therapeutic dendritic cell (DC) vaccine for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the common and lethal type of brain cancer. ICT-107 is designed to activate a patient’s immune system to target six different tumor-associated antigens. In February 2012, it acquired a world-wide license from the University of Pennsylvania and The John Hopkins University (JHU).

The Company in addit ion to ICT-107, is also developing other therapeutic DC vaccines: ICT-140 for ovarian cancer and ICT-121 for recurrent GBM. ICT-140 targets seven tumor-associated antigens expressed on ovarian cancer cells. ICT-107 is a DC vaccine that targets six different tumor-associated antigens that are found on patients’ tumor cells; four of the six antigens are expressed on CSCs. The therapeutic vaccine is used subsequent to conventional therapy or concomitantly with chemotherapy in patients with newly diagnosed GBM. ICT-140 is a DC vaccine that targets seven different ovarian cancer antigens. ICT-121 is a DC vaccine that targets CD133 antigens; it has the potential to be a universal cancer vaccine because CD133 is widely expressed on CSCs from a majority of cancers. Data from this small study demonstrated that ICT-109 had a statistically ability to discriminate between cancerous and non-cancerous samples, suggesting the potential to detect pancreatic and lung cancer in plasma and s erum study sets. The DIAAD (differential immunization for an! tigen and antibody discovery) platform it acquired from Molecular Discoveries utilizes immunological tolerization to accelerate the discovery of the molecular differences between diseased cells and their normal counterparts. The monoclonal antibodies produced by DIAAD provide the basis for the discovery and development of its potential diagnostic and therapeutic products.

The Company competes with Dendreon, Oncothyreon, Galena, Bavarian Nordic and Immunovaccine, Northwest Biotherapeutics, Prima Biomed, DCPrime, Roche/Genentech, Seattle Genetics, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Immunogen.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (NYSE: IMUC) dropped 11.05% to $1.3699. ImmunoCellular’s trailing-twelve-month ROE is -59.80%.

    Posted-In: market losersNews Movers & Shakers Intraday Update Markets

  • [By Wallace Witkowski]

    Shares of ImmunoCellular (IMUC)  jumped after the drug developer said data on a mid-stage brain cancer drug study were looking encouraging.

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    ImmunoCellular Therapeutics Ltd.(IMUC) said its leading product candidate, a dendritic cell-based vaccine for brain cancer, didn’t show a statistically significant advantage in overall survival in a Phase II study. In a research note, Maxim Group said it is pushing its EU approval date target to 2019 and lowered its estimate on the stock to $12 a share from $18 a share. The stock plunged 62% to $1.04 premarket.

  • [By Smith On Stocks]

    Using my assumptions, the common of Agenus might be worth about $7.00 per share in early 2014 based on the royalties from the Glaxo vaccines and the net operating loss carry forward even if every other asset in the company were valued at zero. However, there may be substantial value in Agenus’ internal vaccine programs in recurrent and newly diagnosed glioblastoma and the genital herpes vaccine. Based on a comparison to peer companies like Northwest Biotherapeutics (NWBO) and ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (IMUC), I believe that the internal programs at Agenus currently may be worth $150 million or $4.45 per share. Adding this to the value of the MAGE A-3 vaccine could produce a stock price of $11.00 in early 2014.