A Biotech Pro Exited Novavax Stock. Here Are Three Stocks It Bought.

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Perceptive Advisors sold all its Novavax stock, and bought BridgeBio, SpringWorks, and Aldeyra stock in the first quarter.

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

The biotech-focused Perceptive Advisors and its hedge fund, Perceptive Life Sciences, recently made big changes in its portfolio after strong performances.

Perceptive sold all its Novavax (ticker: NVAX) stock, and bought more BridgeBio Pharma (BBIO), SpringWorks Therapeutics (SWTX), and Aldeyra Therapeutics (ALDX) stock in the first quarter. The investment firm disclosed the trades, among others, in a restated form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Perceptive declined to comment.

A few years ago, we noted the outperformance achieved by Perceptive, guided by CEO and portfolio manager Joseph Edelman. The fund has continued to top the market, notching returns of 52% and 29% in 2019 and 2020, respectively. By comparison, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) rose 25% and 26% in those years.

Perceptive owned 1 million Novavax shares at the end of 2020, and sold them all by the end of March.

Novavax stock was on fire in the first quarter, surging 62.6%. So far in the second, it has slipped 4.0%. By comparison, the IBB slipped about 1% in the first quarter, and so far in the second, it is up 5.5%.

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Novavax made waves last week when data from a study showed its Covid-19 vaccine was 90% effective. Novavax’s vaccine could be an agent for price competition, and shares of rival vaccine makers slumped.

Perceptive bought 1 million more shares of BridgeBio in the first quarter to end the period with 7.8 million shares. BridgeBio stock slipped 13.4% in the first quarter, while so far in the second, it is essentially flat.

This month saw some positive regulatory announcements for the company, which focuses on genetic diseases and cancers with clear genetic drivers. BridgeBio said on June 1 that it received U.S. Food and Drug Administration fast-track designation for encaleret for the treatment of autosomal dominant hypocalcemia type 1. ADH1 is a rare, genetic form of hypoparathyroidism.

BridgeBio also said the same day that its QED Therapeutics affiliate and Helsinn Group received FDA approval for Truseltiq infigratinib to treat patients with bile-duct cancer.

SpringWorks stock managed a 1.4% gain in the first quarter, and so far in the second, it is up 8.9%. SpringWorks said in May it would make an upfront $11 million payment to license a portfolio of novel small-molecule inhibitors of the TEA Domain family of transcription factors, designed for the potential treatment of some solid tumors.

Perceptive bought 672,191 more shares of SpingWorks, which focuses on rare diseases and cancer, to end the first quarter with 4.8 million shares.

The investment firm also bought 2.4 million additional shares of Aldeyra to lift its investment to 8.7 million shares of the company, which develops treatments for immune-mediated diseases.

Aldeyra stock soared 73.2% in the first quarter. So far in the second, it is flat.

Aldeyra stock slipped in April when the company said it would offer $125 million of shares in a public offering. Alliance Global Partners analyst Matt Cross wrote in a April 27 report that “we believe Aldeyra is a prime candidate for M&A activity or a significant co-commercialization agreement this year.” Cross maintained a Buy rating and 12-month price target of $32.

Inside Scoop is a regular Barron’s feature covering stock transactions by corporate executives and board members—so-called insiders—as well as large shareholders, politicians, and other prominent figures. Due to their insider status, these investors are required to disclose stock trades with the Securities and Exchange Commission or other regulatory groups.

Write to Ed Lin at ed.lin@barrons.com and follow @BarronsEdLin.

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