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These Stocks Are Getting Hit Hardest During March's Biotech 'Correction'

A list that might be interesting only to me, but I will share anyway: The biotech and drug stocks getting hit the hardest during the biotech correction -- or whatever you want to call it: 

Tops on the list is Geron (GERN - Get Report), down 58% in March.

GERN Chart
GERN data by YCharts

Geron shares slid following the FDA's decision to place its lead drug imetelstat on clinical hold due to safety concerns, so it's not fair to blame the market weakness in March for its woes. 

At No. 2: Ceres (CERE), an agriculturial biotech company, down 37%. I don't think anyone cares about Ceres. My apologies if you do. 

A trio of stocks tied in third place: Xoma (XOMA), Cytrx (CYTR) and Celldex Therapeutics (CLDX - Get Report) have all lost 39% of their value in March. 

Cytrx's entanglement in a messy stock promotion scandal with the specter of an SEC investigation hovering of the stock easily explains the sell off. Xoma also issued some negative clinical data early in the month. 

Celldex is a bit tougher to figure out. 

CLDX Chart
CLDX data by YCharts

Celldex has benefitted from inclusion in the "immuno-oncology" investing craze, so perhaps the selling we're seeing here is an unwinding of a biotech buzzword trade. 

Next: NewLink Genetics (NLNK - Get Report) and Raptor Pharmaceuticals (RPTP - Get Report) both down 37% in March. 

NewLink is another over-valued cancer buzzword stock which is finally reverting back to the mean. Raptor is proof that orphan-drug disease stocks aren't all gravity proof, especially when you provide disappointing 2014 sales guidance. 

Other notably weak biotech and drug stocks in March: Agenus (AGEN) (-33%), Galena Biopharma (GALE) (-32%), Zogenix (ZGNX) (-32%), Novavax (NVAX) (-34%) and Oramed Pharmaceuticals (ORMP) (-27%). The reasons for weakness in most of these should be self-evident.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.


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