Pieris Pharma Soars on AstraZeneca Collaboration

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Shares of Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: PIRS) saw perhaps one of the biggest gains on Wednesday after the company announced a critical collaboration with AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN). Specifically, the two companies are coming together to develop Pieris’ Anticalin platform, including its lead preclinical drug candidate, PRS-060, for the treatment of respiratory diseases.

According to deal, Pieris will receive $57.5 million in upfront and near-term milestone payments. Keep in mind that the company has a total market cap of roughly $151 million. Although, Pieris does have the opportunity to receive up to $2.1 billion in milestone and commercial payments, as well as tiered royalties.

Also under the collaboration, Pieris will be responsible for advancing PRS-060 into Phase 1 clinical trials in 2017. AstraZeneca will fund all clinical development and subsequent commercialization programs, and Pieris has the option of co-development and co-commercialization in the United States from Phase 2a onward.

Additionally, AstraZeneca and Pieris will collaborate to progress four additional novel Anticalins against undisclosed targets for respiratory diseases, with Pieris having the option to co-develop and co-commercialize in the United States two of these programs.

Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, Innovative Medicines and Early Development Biotech Unit and Business Development, commented:

At AstraZeneca, discovering and developing innovative new medicines to treat respiratory diseases is a key strategic priority. Our alliance with Pieris adds an important new modality to our respiratory portfolio and builds on our scientific expertise in inhaled formulation technologies. Pieris shares our passion for ground-breaking science and we look forward to working together to develop new, life-changing treatment options for patients.

Shares of Pieris were trading up nearly 50% at $3.56 on Wednesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $9.00 and a 52-week trading range of $1.30 to $3.90.

AstraZeneca shares were down 0.7% at $30.48. The 52-week range is $25.55 to $35.04, and the consensus price target is $33.87.