It was a bad week for two of the region's biggest biotechnology firms and a banner week for two others.
First, the biotech sector losers. MedImmune Inc. of Gaithersburg alerted investors that its FluMist nasal spray for flu treatment would not be approved for use this year. The company's stock fell 9 percent to close the week at $25.16 a share. MedImmune also revised its fiscal-year sales projection down by about $100 million because the drug will not reach stores for the lucrative winter flu season. The vaccine may eventually fuel a $1 billion market. The company reported a third-quarter loss of $36.3 million (14 cents per share), compared with a loss of $19 million (9 cents per share) for the same period a year earlier. Shares of the Columbia biotech firm Martek Biosciences Corp. also fell 9 percent last week, to $15.55. For the year, Martek is down 29 percent. The decline last week came even though Mead Johnson Nutritional said it was launching a new, lactose-free version of infant formula containing Martek nutritional oils.
The Washington Post-Bloomberg regional stock index closed at 161.20, up 5.63 points. The NVTC Potomac Tech 60, which tracks 60 local technology firms, closed at 557.22, up 35.93 points.
Now, the winners in the local biotech sector. Shares of Gaithersburg-based Gene Logic Inc., a genetic-data merchant, closed Friday at $7.49 a share, up 20 percent for the week, even though the stock hit a 52-week low of $5.80 on Tuesday. Shares are down 60 percent for the year, but got a boost two weeks ago after Gene Logic said that IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp. has extended its subscription for genetic information. IDEC is developing cancer therapies with the data.
Shares of Meridian Medical Technologies Inc. rose after King Pharmaceuticals Inc. said it would acquire the Columbia firm for $247.8 million. Meridian's stock has soared in the past year after it struck exclusive contracts with the Defense Department to make nerve-gas treatments for soldiers. The merger is expected to be completed in January. Meridian shares closed Friday at $44.10, up 16 percent for the week.
Outside the biotech sector, the biggest stock news came from the software firm Manugistics Group Inc. of Rockville. Shares closed Friday at $3.17, up 52 percent for the week after the company appointed William H. Janeway, a vice chairman at the investment firm Warburg Pincus, to its board. Warburg owns an 11 percent stake in Manugistics and can acquire up to 19.9 percent of outstanding shares.