The biotechs and emerging pharma have been under pressure from politicians attacking drug prices. That doesn’t mean that there are not some big winners out there. Sometimes the biggest winners are companies most investors have never heard of. Even if you have been a biotech and emerging pharma investor for years, chances are high that you would have never heard of a small outfit called Apricus Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: APRI).
To see a move of more than 100% you might assume that this was a buyout. It wasn’t. Apricus was listed in the top biohealth movers on Wednesday, but the reality is that this was the top stock of them all.
Apricus Biosciences reported on Wednesday morning that Mexico has granted the company’s commercialization partner, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, market approval for Vitaros. Here is why this matters : Vitaros is an on-demand topical cream indicated for the treatment of patients with erectile dysfunction.
Even after a 130% rally in a single day, Apricus has a market cap that is not quite $27 million. That means this whole company was worth less than $15 million the day before. Most investors would turn away immediately if they saw a move like this. Others who thrive on riskier bets might feel the exact opposite.
Before investors just assume that this is the next Viagra or Cialis, there are some serious issues to consider. A cream is not a pill. Also, the report shows that Mexico is the 26th country in which the product has been approved. Another issue is that the drug is partnered.
Under the terms of the agreement, Apricus has received a total of $4.5 million in upfront payments from Ferring. It also has received a regulatory milestone payment of $1.6 million.
Apricus said that it is also eligible to receive up to an additional $28 million in regulatory, launch and sales milestones, plus royalties on future net sales.
Apricus listed the other nations that the product has been approved, as follows: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Last year, Apricus expanded its exclusive Vitaros distribution agreement with Ferring in Latin America to include Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and certain countries in Asia, the United Kingdom and Korea.
Apricus Biosciences shares were last seen up 130% at $3.48, and the stock hit a 52-week high of $4.07. Its 52-week low is down at $0.26, on a reverse split adjusted basis.
A chart review over the past 10 years shows that Apricus has a history of big spikes. Many of those big spikes were at higher prices (much higher prices). According to Yahoo! Finance, Apricus has just 24 full time employees.
As of 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Apricus had seen a whopping 44 million shares trade hands.