Why Arena Pharmaceuticals Is Knocking It Out of the Park

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Shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) saw an incredible gain early Tuesday after the company reported positive results from its mid-stage trial in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Specifically, the results came from the Phase 2 trial of ralinepag, which demonstrated a statistically significant absolute change from baseline in pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) compared to placebo.

Patients treated with ralinepag had a 29.8% improvement in PVR compared to the placebo arm and a 20.1% improvement in PVR compared to baseline. Also, ralinepag demonstrated numerical improvement in six-minute walking distance.

Additionally, adverse events observed in the study were consistent with other prostacyclin treatments for the management of PAH, including headache, nausea, diarrhea, jaw pain and flushing as some of the most commonly reported adverse events.

Arena is looking to present its full study results at future medical congresses.

Preston Klassen, M.D., MHS, Executive Vice President, Research and Development and chief medical officer of Arena, commented:

The positive outcome of this Phase 2 trial in a contemporary PAH patient population is an important milestone in the development of ralinepag for the treatment of patients suffering from this grievous illness. It is exciting to see the positive nonclinical pharmacological profile translating into potentially the first oral prostacyclin therapy that may approach consistent therapeutic levels without the complexity of parenteral (IV) therapy.  These data give us confidence to move expeditiously toward a Phase 3 clinical program.

Excluding Tuesday’s move, Arena had outperformed the broad markets, with the stock up nearly 30% year to date. However, over the past 52 weeks the stock was only up 8%.

Shares of Arena Pharma were last seen trading up about 49% at $27.40, with a consensus analyst price target of $33.00 and a 52-week range of $11.30 to $27.78.