Shares of Durham drug developer BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: BCRX) fell more than 20 percent after the company reported earnings Friday, partly because it added to a study of a next-generation hereditary angioedema (HAE) treatment.
Vernon T. Bernardino, an analyst with MLV & Co., says the “surprise disclosure” led to speculation that “either [the treatment] wasn’t showing any efficacy after seven days of testing or the compound needed longer (more days of dosing) to take effect.”
He added that, “The disappointment reflected in the stock is probably appropriate.” A different analyst, Rahul Jasuja, the managing director of biotechnology research at Noble Life Science Partners, however, blamed the stock drop on “less sophisticated investors” who don’t understand biotech investing.
In May, BioCryst launched a Phase 1 healthy volunteer study of BCX7353, which it hopes to develop as a once-daily, oral prophylactic HAE treatment. On Friday, company management added a 14-day treatment cohort in order to properly characterize the steady state pharmacokinetics of BCX7353.
In short, BioCryst added to the trial. “That will delay results by a quarter – no reason to worry,” says Jasuja. “Sophisticated investors understand that, but not all investors (are) in that category.”
Separately, BioCryst announced Thursday that Bob Ingram, a pillar in the Triangle pharmaceutical industry, would join its board.
In addition to investor overreaction, Jasuja notes that many pharmaceutical and biotechnology stocks were down – as was the entire market – on Friday. “The markets are very bearish last few days. I think after a long bull run in biotech over the last couple years, investors may be taking profits in August before they go on vacation,” he says.
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