After noting that the CEO at Arrowhead Research bought 16,000 shares yesterday on the open market, several people asked me on twitter if he had previously sold, as the stock is down 75% from its March 6th high of $27.63.
While the overall predictive power of insider's trades are mixed. I am of the opinion that insider's trades are worth a second look if they meet the following criteria:
With this criteria in mind, I dove into the insider transaction data, which I've show all the 2014 activity below.
It appears that Mr. Anzalone has not sold any shares in 2014, and I don't see any shares sold in years past.
However, other insiders seemed to have actively sold shares, by converting their options and selling the proceeds. The best trader among them seem to be the CFO, having sold at $18.77 in February, and $14.02 in August. His gross proceeds from these two sales are $861,150 or net $576,140 when you include the cost of exercising the options.
It is also interesting to note that the CFO and a Director sold on the same day (August 15th) and the CFO got a better price. Perhaps he is a good trader.
Going back to our criteria outlined above:
I would say that the purchase of $101,120 of ARWR stock, of which he already has a very large position, is a meaningful amount, but not tremendously meaningful.
Keep in mind, I am not implying anything improper occurs when insiders sell, rather I believe some insiders are in the position to know the intrinsic value of the company better than other investors, and therefor in a position to buy an undervalued stock and sell an overvalued stock.
Geek note: I am using insider transaction data from OpenInsider.com.
Disclosure, I am long Arrowhead Research.
One of the most controversial names in biotech has been Arrowhead Research (ARWR).
The market was very disappointed with ARWR's late-breaking abstract for the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) meeting, part of the ongoing Phase 2a study of ARC-520 for hepatitis B. The abstract was released October 8th, 2014. The meeting is November 7-11, and is commonly referred to as The Liver Meeting.
Investors were looking for a 1 log reduction in Hepatitis B virus from Arrowhead's ARC-520. However the company delivered a 0.3 log reduction in HBV, falling short of expectations.
The stock has declined more than 50% on the news. Management has tried to assuage investors with an open letter to shareholders.
For a good summary of the situation, I'll refer you to Adam Feuerstein's article at TheStreet.com. For a more scientific take on the data, check out Dirk Haussecker's RNAi Therapeutics blog.
However, this hasn't stopped Daniel Gold's QVT Financial from increasing it's stake to 4,030,882 shares as of October 8, 2014. The stock closed at $7.03 that day after trading as low as $5.47, they now own 7.62% of the company . This position is up from 1,819,982 shares as of June 30, 2014.
QVT Financial manages more than $8 billion, and has 27% of its 13F portfolio in healthcare. QVT originated as a non-traditional proprietary trading group, lead by Deutsche Bank alumni Daniel Gold.
The bull case for Arrowhead Research centers around the signs of efficacy we have seen thus far, and ARC-520 clean safety profile. Bulls think the viral knockdown to be demonstrated in higher/multiple doses (3-4mg/kg) will be sufficient for a high level of HBV knockdown.
This is the personal blog of Emory Redd.
This blog is not investment advice. This is not a solicitation to invest. Don't take candy from strangers.
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