Neurotrope Inc. (NASDAQ: NTRP) may be a winner by default in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease after shares of Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) suffered handily with the announcement that it and partner Eisei were halting late-stage studies of aducanumab. An independent research board determined that the studies were unlikely to meet their endpoints.
As far as why Neurotrope may be the winner here, investors are eager to catch the next mega-blockbuster drug. And any company that is able to offer even a slight help in slowing, let alone improving or curing, Alzheimer’s would be faced with the upside of billions upon billions of dollars in future drug and treatment sales.
Neurotrope also is targeting Alzheimer’s in a different manner than Biogen was. Its Bryostatin AD therapy is said to target brain synapse loss and it uses a different mechanism than aducanumab’s targeting of amyloid plaque buildup. Neurotrope is also targeting moderately severe and severe cases of Alzheimer’s. The company is in the testing phase at this time but data from earlier testing has been positive.
For the record, many scientists still even disagree on the actual causes and markers behind Alzheimer’s. That has been just one reason why there are many varying efforts at different stages studying the disease that affects or will affect millions of elderly people in America and around the world.
Neurotrope’s CEO, Dr. Charles Ryan, was quick to issue a statement on Thursday morning as well:
We are deeply saddened to hear the news that Biogen and Eisai’s efforts have fallen short. We, as a global society, are all in this fight together as we search for a cure for this devastating disease that is touching so many lives. Repeated attempts to treat or even slow the relentless progression of AD by targeting amyloid plaque in patient’s brains continues to lead to disappointing outcomes. The promising data from our previous exploratory Phase 2 trial showed greater than baseline improvements in Severe Impairment Battery (SIB) scores for patients in the 20 µg Bryostatin-1 dose group, suggesting the potential to translate Bryostatin’s neurorestorative properties in the clinic. Neurotrope will be releasing results of our confirmatory Phase 2 clinical trial using our drug Bryostatin during the second half of 2019.
Investors should know that Neurotrope is an all-or-none approach to investing in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases while Biogen has a longer history and has billions of dollars in other revenues. That still did not prevent Biogen from having its worst day in more than a decade and from losing almost $20 billion in market capitalization in the single day’s session.
Shares of Neurotrope closed up just under 10% at $4.70 on Thursday, but investors who prefer established companies with long track records should take note that its market cap is a mere $61 million. This makes it more than speculative among micro-cap stocks, and its shares have a 52-week range of $3.33 to $11.92. The stock has been very thinly followed by analysts. in 2018, it received a Buy rating and $16 target from Maxim Group and a Buy rating and $15 target at Roth Capital.
Biogen had seen stronger drug results last summer, but that faded away on Thursday. While Stifel had downgraded Biogen to Hold in February, several firms downgraded their ratings on Thursday — William Blair, Cantor Fitzgerald and Atlantic Equities. Biogen closed down 29.2% at $226.88, after opening at $230.07 and briefly trading as high as $235.77.