​This Week in Emerging Growth: That Sound You Hear is Democrats Pneu-Moaning About the Polls

Joel Anderson  |

Well, Democrats got a solid month or two of smugly reading poll numbers showing the Trump campaign dead in the water. A series of bad press cycles ending with Hillary Clinton nearly collapsing after coming down with pneumonia and then trying to push through, that’s pretty much over. Trump is now ahead in some polls and appears to have a clear lead in the all-important state of Ohio. Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL) gained more than 10% on the week on excitement about the iPhone 7, new data revealed that median incomes for the middle class went up the most since the 1960s in 2015, and Bayer (BAYRY) and Monsanto (MON) appear to have completed a deal that would make an agricultural mega-company.

Russell 2000 Performance This Week: +5.56 (0.46%) to 1,224.78

S&P 500 for Same Period: +11.12 (0.52%) to 2,139.16

Top Reads of the Week

Emerging Growth News

  • Ride-sharing start-up Uber launched an autonomous, self-driving version of their service in Pittsburgh, the home of the Carnegie Mellon robotics lab that had a third of its staff poached by the company last year. So, congrats to all those Uber drivers fighting hard to secure their rights as full-time employees just as their positions become totally obsolete.
  • This week brought a long, downhill slog for shares of Geron Corporation (GERN). Despite gain in the early going on Monday, the stock put together four straight days of losses beginning with Tuesday that added up to more than a third of the company’s value. At fault were two updates on ongoing clinical trials for drug imelstat that were, clearly, pretty underwhelming for investors.
  • Shares in Applied Genetics (AGTC) went off a cliff on Tuesday morning, shedding about a third of its total market cap after the company released its Q4 earnings report and provided updates on ongoing clinical trials. The company missed analyst estimates for revenue (which, hey, where’s the credit for being a biotech company with revenue?), but it was, get this, lackluster results in clinical trials that led to the stock getting hammered.
  • Shares in of Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) jumped sharply on Wednesday after news that Ronald Farkas would be leaving the FDA. Hard not to take THAT personally, huh? The subtext there was that Farkas had cast the deciding vote in a 7-6 decision by the advisory committee that ruled that Sarepta’s eteplirsen had shown inadequate evidence in treating Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy. The markets appeared to think better of it, though, as the more-than 25% gain on Wednesday was largely given back on Thursday and Friday leaving the stock up just under 4% on the week. As for Farkas, his tough response to eteplirsen should come as no surprise as bullying has run in the family since brother Scott terrorized suburban Indiana in the 1940s.
  • Dallas-based connected car platform Vinli expanded their partnership with T-Mobile (TMUS) to offer its in-vehicle connected device to millions of drivers. T-Mobile will be powering the 4G LTE wireless data service through the Vinli device, which will include some 47 apps. Yeah, but will any of them change a tire?
  • Aeri Pharmaceuticals (AERI) gained some 50% on Thursday and then added to gains again on Friday after the company released positive results from a phase 3 trial for glaucoma drug Roclatan. This may end up coming as a real blow, though, for stoners claiming to suffer from glaucoma in medical marijuana states.
  • Project management software company Asana unveiled its new “General Fields” product on Thursday, which allows companies to expand the software beyond project management to “track everything,” including many aspects of a company’s business that go beyond just project management. Asana was co-founded by Dustin Moskovitz, early Facebook (FB) employee and college roommate of Mark Zuckerberg, so you would have to assume it will include fields to track people’s birthdays and pictures of their food.
  • Clinical-stage biotech Novavax (NVAX) was, well, not really the Novavax everyone knew Thursday afternoon as soon as trading opened on Friday morning. The stock lost nearly 85%, taking its market cap from well over $2 billion to just under $350 million overnight. At issue was news that a late-stage clinical trial on the company’s vaccination for respiratory syncytial virus failed to meet their primary or secondary end points.

Deals Recap:

  • Digital media company Defy Media raised $70 million in a Series B round led by Wellington Management.
  • Analog integrated circuits company Intersil was acquired by Japanese semiconductor company Renesas Electronics for $3.2 billion.
  • Big data management platform Datorama raised $32 million in a Series C round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners.
  • Rare-disease treatment company Raptor Pharmaceutical Corp. (RPTP) was acquired by Horizon Pharma (HZNP) for $800 million.
  • Private equity investor SVG Capital was acquired by HarbourVest Partners for $1.35 billion.
  • Novel therapeutics developer Delinia raised $35 million in a Series A round led by Atlas Venture.
  • Digital device maker Applause raised $35 million in a Series F round led by Credit Suisse (CS).
  • Biotech firm Peloton Therapeutics raised $52.4 million in a Series D round led by Foresite Capital.
  • Security platform BitSight Technologies raised $40 million in a Series C round led by GGV Capital.
  • Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Vitae Pharmaceuticals (VTAE) was acquired Allergan for $639 million.
  • Rapid 3D-printing company Carbon raised $81 million in a Series C round from strategic investors.

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