The OIS Index gained 4.4% in March, far outperforming its key benchmarks during another volatile month for the markets. The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index declined by 1.3% in March, while the overall US stock market as measured by the Russell 3000 Index declined by 2.2%. A composite of US medical device stocks turned in a small gain of 0.7%. Among the 32 stocks in the OIS Index, there were 14 advancing and 17 declining stocks during the month, with one stock unchanged.
OIS Index Boosters
The largest positive contributor to OIS Index performance in March was Clearside Biomedical (+1.5% contribution to index performance, stock up 66.1%). On March 5, Clearside announced positive top-line results from its PEACHTREE trial, a 160-patient pivotal Phase III clinical trial of suprachoroidal CLS-TA in patients with macular edema associated with non-infectious uveitis. CLS-TA is Clearside’s proprietary suspension of the corticosteroid triamcinolone acetonide formulated for administration to the back of the eye via the suprachoroidal space. The trial achieved its primary endpoint of statistically significant improvement in the proportion of patients gaining 15 or more letters in visual acuity, as well as all key secondary endpoints and no reported treatment-related serious adverse events. During the same week, Clearside raised $85 million through a public stock offering.
For the second month in a row, Apellis Pharmaceuticals (+1.3% contribution to index performance, stock up 20.6%) provided a strong boost to the index. The stock’s advance during the first half of March was a continuation of a move that began in late February after Apellis reported favorable 18-month data from the Phase II trial (FILLY) of the complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2, in patients with geographic atrophy associated with age-related macular degeneration. Spark Therapeutics (+1.5% contribution to index performance, stock up 16.6%) had a meaningful impact on the index due to its high weighting within the index.
Other top performers during March, but with a smaller impact on the OIS Index due to lower weighting within the index, were Second Sight Medical Products (+28.9%) and Ocular Therapeutix (+24.5%). Second Sight announced expansion of Medicare coverage for its Argus II retinal prosthesis system, and Ocular Therapeutix reported progress on multiple fronts, including the planned H1-2018 resubmission to the Food and Drug Administration of the New Drug Application (NDA) for Dextenza for postsurgical ocular pain and inflammation.
Detractors and an Addition
A number of stocks within the OIS Index experienced declines of 20% or more but had an overall muted impact on index performance because none of these stocks represents more than 2% of total index valuation. The largest decliners in March were EyeGate Pharmaceuticals (-33.3%), Realm Therapeutics (-27.4%), Alimera Sciences (-20.8%), Presbia (-20.1%), and GenSight Biologics (-20.0%).
With the April 1 quarterly rebalancing of the OIS Index, Eyenovia has been added to the index, bringing the total number of companies to 33. Eyenovia, which raised $27 million in its January initial public offering, is developing a pipeline of ophthalmology products utilizing its patented piezo-print technology to deliver micro-therapeutics topically to the eye.
The OIS Index is a composite of ophthalmic growth stocks that tracks the investment performance of our sector. Our goal is to highlight ophthalmology investment performance, in absolute terms and compared with broader biotech and medical device industries, as well as the overall stock market. The OIS Index was launched with an initial value of 1,000 on October 1, 2016; as of April 1, 2018, the OIS Index stood at 877.57.
Michael Lachman can be reached at michael@EyeQResearch.com.