Small-cap biopharma company Raptor Pharmaceutical (RPTP) took off on Thursday after releasing top line results from an 18-month analysis of the company’s ongoing 3-year Phase 2/3 study on its treatment for Hungtington’s disease (HD), RP-103. Traders hawking shares were no doubt please as they traded up as much as 18.77 percent before retreating to gains just over 10 percent as the day wore on. Volume was heavy, clearing 5.4 million shares moved by 1:30 as compared to an average daily volume of just 1 million shares.
Huntington’s disease is caused by a mutation in either of two copies of the Huntingtin gene and causes a deterioration of muscle coordination and eventually leads to cognitive decline and psychiatric problems. Approximately 30,000 Americans suffer from the disease with another 200,000 at risk to have it passed on from one of their parents. RP-103 treats patients with HD by spurring the secretion of Brain Derived Neurotropic Factors (BDNFs), which can support the survival and growth of neurons affected by the disease.
Top-line results for RP-103 were positive after 18 months. From the company’s press release:
“In these 66 patients (32 under placebo and 34 under RP103), RP103 treatment caused a statistically significant 58% slower progression in TMS [total motor score] of 2.84 points compared to 6.78 points for placebo (p=0.03) at 18 months. Slower progression [of loss of muscle control] was seen across all TMS sub-score measurements including eye and hand movements, balance and gait, as well as maximal dystonia and maximal chorea.”
The double-blind study has 96 enrollees and is composed of an initial 18-month period as well as an additional 18-month open label treatment with RP-103.
"We are very encouraged by these trial results and we believe that the significant slowdown of loss of muscle control in these early stage patients indicates that RP103 is potentially effective at slowing the progression of Huntington's disease," said Lead Investigator Dr. Christophe Verny. "We look forward to working with Raptor to develop and implement a continuing access program so that we can continue to provide RP103 to the patients who participated in the study initiated by CHU d'Angers, and avoid any treatment interruption after they finish the study."
In addition to the positive clinical data, Raptor Pharmaceuticals may have also broken through an important technical barrier. The stock appeared to be in a rising wedge pattern since mid-December of last year, with rising support and resistance levels converging due to a faster increase in the support level. However, today’s gain would represent a positive breakout from that pattern, clearing resistance at just over $16 a share.
It seems possible that the positive news of the study was buoyed to some degree by this breakout, though the clinical data should most likely be viewed as the primary reason for the day’s big gains. Today's highs also had Raptor floating like a kite to a 52-week high.
DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer