On Friday, Ascendis Pharma A/S (NASDAQ:ASND) experienced an unprecedented surge of trading activity in the form of 3,207 call options that were acquired. This represents a staggering increase of around 363% compared to the average volume of 693 call options. The sudden burst in options trading has raised eyebrows among investors and analysts alike.
The company, which specializes in the development of new drug candidates utilizing its TransCon technologies platform, has had a rocky ride with ratings ranging from sell to buy on various financial publications. Credit Suisse Group downgraded its rating on Ascendis Pharma A/S from ‘outperform’ to ‘neutral,’ while Oppenheimer lowered it from ‘outperform’ to ‘market perform.’ StockNews.com assumed coverage with a ‘sell’ rating on the company’s stock. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo & Company boosted its target price from $169.00 to $177.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating.
Despite these mixed reviews, several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of ASND. Envestnet Asset Management Inc., Rice Hall James & Associates LLC, Bank of New York Mellon Corp, BlackRock Inc., and Affinity Asset Advisors LLC all increased their stakes in the biopharmaceutical firm.
Ascendis Pharma A/S’s TransCon technologies platform is focused on creating prodrugs that provide a predictable and sustained release of an unmodified parent drug. The company was co-founded by Jan Moller Mikkelsen, Dirk Vetter, and Harald Rau in September 2006 and is headquartered in Hellerup, Denmark.
The unusual trading activity on ASND raises concerns about insider trading or other non-public information that may have triggered such a surge in option purchases. However, until there is further clarification from regulatory bodies or the company itself regarding this matter, we can only speculate as to what may have caused this unusual event in the world of trading.
Ascendis Pharma A/S faces substantial drop in share price following interim data release
Ascendis Pharma A/S, a biotechnology company listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol ASND, recently faced a substantial drop in share price during mid-day trading on Friday. At $70.00, the stock traded down by $6.98 compared to its previous trading session. Despite playing host to 2,154,530 shares that have been traded – a significant volume compared to the stock’s average volume of 545,333 – market cap was recorded at $4.00 billion with a beta of 0.55 and P/E ratio of -6.27.
The downward trend towards the end of last week follows from an interim data release stated by Ascendis Pharma A/S earlier this month for its Biologics License Application (BLA) submission seeking approval of TransCon™ hGH as a treatment for pediatric growth hormone deficiency (GHD).
Following release announcement of February quarterly earnings figures on Thursday, we know that the biotechnology company missed consensus estimates by ($1.28), reporting ($3.78) in Earnings Per Share (EPS). The company also experienced negative net margins of 1,149.60% and negative return on equity figures reaching 114.11%. Indeed, Ascendis Pharma’s Q4 report made it evident that while revenue rose by over 200% to reach $45 million in comparison to corresponding results from FY2019; their loss statistics was not any better showing trailing twelve-month losses totaling $195 million or approximately -$12 per share said executives via an earnings call.
Looking into financial ratios reveals noteworthy trends on Ascendis Pharma A/S: with debt-to-equity ratio currently standing at 1.83x depicts its current capacity for debt management however liquidity is not optimal as the current and quick ratios are high but acceptable only when assessed along with available credit resources under terms such as bank loans or bonds issuance.
The fifty-day moving average of the stock currently stands at $98.17 and has witnessed movements relative to its two-hundred day moving average of $110.64. Although these figures indicate a considerable decrease, investors will also take note that while ASND’s 52-week low was at $61.58, the company experienced a particularly high 52-week high point of $134.52.
Looking towards future performance expectations and industry rating’s revealed by S&P Capital IQ, equity analysts predict that Ascendis Pharma A/S is positioned to post -11.23 EPS for the fiscal year in progress.