Avanir soars on Zenvia clinical results

Here's another chapter in the story of volatile biotech stocks. I bought Avanir (AVNR) at the end of February when bad news pushed the stock down drastically. I paid $1.52 a share and since then it's been even lower--as low as $1.07, in fact.

But as you can see to the left, Avanir has become more friendly to investors as a result of the positive results of their drug Zenvia. Here's an excerpt from an article in BusinessWeek:

Drug developer Avanir Pharmaceuticals said Wednesday that a clinical trial showed its drug Zenvia significantly lessened nerve pain in diabetic patients.

Avanir shares surged $1.08, or 85 percent, to $2.35 in electronic premarket activity, after closing at $1.27 Tuesday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Shares traded as high as $18.14 in February 2006 but have fallen sharply since, dropping to a low of $1.07 last month.

In a late-stage clinical trial, patients with diabetic neuropathic pain were given Zenvia or placebo and asked to make daily journals entries rating their pain. Avanir said patients given Zenvia reported significantly less pain in their journals over 90 days, thereby reaching the primary endpoint of the trial.

Patients taking Zenvia also reported significant improvements on pain relief scales and pain intensity scales.

Like I've been saying for a while, biotech stocks are a lot of fun if you can take the volatility. At one point yesterday, Avanir was $5.53 which is a HUGE gain when you consider it closed on Tuesday at $1.27. There's not many areas of endeavor where you can more than quadruple your money in one day. Too bad these stocks also fall so fast that it's like dropping off a cliff.

Oh Hell. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen, eh? I suspect something interesting will happen to Avanir when the market opens at 9:30am EST but I admit to having no idea if it'll move up or down. Anything can happen here. I don't have a financial interest anymore since I sold my shares in the run up Wednesday but I'm quite curious as to what happens. Personally I think it'll go up further and no doubt I'll curse myself for selling early--but the old adage One in the hand is worth two in the bush comes to mind here!
It's good to keep in mind though that just a little over a year ago this stock was trading over $18. So it's possible for AVNR to move quite a ways upward. But if it does, I won't be reaping any profits from it--but maybe in a year or two people with diabetes will be reaping benefits. Let's hope so. That's the real reason the biotechs exist.


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