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Latest meme stock: Danish biotechnology company jumps almost 1,400%

Orphazyme A/S, which develops therapies to treat genetic disorders, says it has no idea why its American depositary shares surged overnight

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When trading started in Copenhagen, the Danish shares rose as much as 76 per cent. The company has now warned investors against being sucked into the frenzy

Danish investors and analysts have spent the morning trying to figure out why a tiny biotechnology company suddenly soared almost 1,400 per cent during US trading hours.

Orphazyme A/S, which develops therapies to treat genetic disorders, says it has no idea why its American depositary shares surged overnight. When trading started in Copenhagen, the Danish shares rose as much as 76 per cent. The company has now warned investors against being sucked into the frenzy.

“Investors who purchase the company’s ADS or shares may lose a significant portion of their investments if the price of such securities subsequently declines,” Orphazyme said on Friday morning.

The only reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that Denmark now has its own meme stock, according to Per Hansen, an investment economist at retail broker Nordnet in Copenhagen. “It’s not just GameStop and AMC that are the subjects of strange, sudden and inexplicable” price developments, Hansen said in a client note.

“Sometimes, there’s no logical explanation for what happens on the stock market,” he said. “And the development in the share price of Orphazyme is an example of that.” Orphazyme’s ADS soared as much as 1,387 per cent during US hours, before closing about 302 per cent higher. Orphazyme said it’s “not aware of any material change in its clinical development programs, financial condition or results of operations that would explain such price volatility or trading volume.”

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The US Securities and Exchange Commission said this week it’s scrutinizing for signs of manipulation as meme stocks continue to surge. That’s as trading in such stocks took off again this week, with chatter building on WallStreetBets and other social media platforms on the potential for short squeezes.

Orphazyme, which uses heat shock proteins to develop therapies for rare neurodegenerative diseases, has had a turbulent time since its 2017 initial public offering. Shares in the company peaked in February 2020, trading 69 per cent above the IPO price, but are now roughly a third down from the listing, even with Friday’s gains.

A little more than an hour after trading started in Copenhagen on Friday, shares in Orphazyme were up about 57 per cent, bringing its market value to roughly $305 million.

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First Published: Sat, June 12 2021. 00:48 IST
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