Healthcare Business

Wednesday's Top Biopharma Winners

The third week of the New Year is halfway over, and a few biopharma companies made massive runs on the day. The health care sector was in trouble over the past year, under fire from congressional hearings and politicians on the campaign trail. But 2017 could be different, with a new administration and new perspective that could lead to more positive trials, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals and mergers and acquisitions.

At the same time, Trump said last week that companies in the health care sector are “getting away with murder,” and that something had to change. The sector has pulled back slightly since then, but there are still companies posting incredible gains.

24/7 Wall St. has picked out a few companies that stood out from the rest on Wednesday morning. We have included information about each company, as well as recent trading activity and the consensus price target.

Apricus Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: APRI) reported that Mexico has granted the company’s commercialization partner, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, market approval for Vitaros, an on-demand topical cream indicated for the treatment of patients with erectile dysfunction. This is the 26th country in which the product has been approved.

Under the terms of the agreement, Apricus has received a total of $4.5 million in upfront payments from Ferring, in addition to a regulatory milestone payment of $1.6 million. Apricus is eligible to receive up to an additional $28 million in regulatory, launch and sales milestones, plus royalties on future net sales.

Shares of Apricus were trading up about 85% at $2.79 on Wednesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $4.18 and a 52-week trading range of $0.26 to $3.22.

aTyr Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: LIFE) announced that its product candidate, Resolaris, was granted Fast Track designation by the FDA for the treatment of limb girdle muscular dystrophy 2B (LGMD2B). This is significant because Resolaris is now the first known therapeutic candidate for the treatment of LGMD2B to receive the designation. Additionally, the FDA removed its partial clinical hold on a dosing ceiling for Resolaris in clinical trials.

John Mendlein, Ph.D., CEO of aTyr Pharma, commented:

This Fast Track designation, which is granted to drug candidates addressing serious conditions and that demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs, represents another step forward for our first product candidate based on the Physiocrine pathway. Combined with our Phase1b/2 data in LGMD2B, adult facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) and early onset FSHD patients, we believe we are building a clinical and regulatory foundation for future development of Resolaris to treat patients across multiple rare genetic myopathies with an immune component.

aTyr shares were trading up nearly 25% at $3.05. The consensus price target is $3.67, and the 52-week range is $2.10 to $6.81.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC (NASDAQ: JAZZ) received FDA approval for its first generic version of Xyrem, used to treat patients with narcolepsy. Currently, Xyrem is the only approved treatment for excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy. Over 70% of patients with narcolepsy suffer from cataplexy as part of the neurological disorder.

Shares were last seen up 10% at $127.09, with a consensus price target of $173.71 and a 52-week range of $95.80 to $160.00.

Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) has announced it has reached an agreement to acquire CoLucid Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCD) in an all-cash transaction for $46.50 per share, or about $960 million. This not only will enhance Eli Lilly’s existing portfolio in pain management for migraine, but it also adds a potential near-term launch to its late-stage pipeline.

CoLucid Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company developing an oral 5-HT1F agonist (lasmiditan) for the acute treatment of migraine. It has completed the first of two pivotal Phase 3 trials, and a data read-out for the second is expected in the second half of 2017. If this trial is positive, submission of lasmiditan for U.S. regulatory approval could occur in 2018.

Shares of CoLucid were up 32% at $46.22. The consensus price target is $45.60. The new 52-week trading range is $4.57 to $46.30.

Eli Lilly traded at $77.26, with a consensus price target of $85.19 and a 52-week range of $64.18 to $83.79.