Q3 2018: Taking Stock

Medtechs led the way in stocks of public life science companies in San Diego during the third quarter.

Overall, the life sciences industry gained 9.33 percent from July 2 to Oct. 1. The San Diego Business Journal tallied the performance of 36 stocks during the period.

Three medtechs — Tandem Diabetes Care, NuVasive and Dexcom — topped the mid- to large-cap category. Other notable stories included Vital Therapies tanking after a disappointing clinical trial.

Going Gangbusters

Tandem Diabetes Care

Market Cap: $2.04 billion

Stock symbol and exchange: TNDM on Nasdaq

Quarter-over-quarter change: +70%

After looking down and out last year, Tandem Diabetes Care continued a meteoric rise in the third quarter.

The company’s stock started the year at $2.54 a share, reaching $36.54 as of Oct. 2.

Sales are rising on Tandem’s touchscreen insulin pumps. Further momentum came from the company in June winning U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for an automated insulin technology that lowers the frequency and duration of low blood sugar.

That technology integrates with diabetes monitoring products from Dexcom, which rounded out the top three in third quarter stock growth.

On top of strong revenue gains, Dexcom this summer released its smartphone-linked G6 system, which alerts diabetes patients and caregivers in case of dangerous blood sugar levels.

Second in stock increases was NuVasive, which in August reported higher-than-expected sales.

Troubling Times

Vital Therapies

Market cap: $10.52M

Stock symbol and exchange: VTL on Nasdaq

Quarter-over-quarter change: -95%

Vital Therapies reported final-stage clinical trial results in September — and the news wasn’t good.

The company’s acute liver failure drug failed to meet clinical endpoints. The company said its treatment would likely not be approved in the U.S. or European Union without further clinical trials, demanding capital and time.

Days later came layoffs of 83 Vital employees, according to a state notice.