Shares of Puma Biotechnology (NASDAQ: PBYI) rose 20% on Monday. The stock closed trading Friday at $3.75 and opened at the same price on Monday. However, it rose to its 52-week high of $4.59 in the late afternoon before easing back to $4.50 at the close. The stock is up more than 48% so far this year.
The biopharmaceutical company specializes in cancer therapies. Its stock got a boost on Monday when a Takeda Pharmaceutical (NYSE: TAK) candidate, ponatinib, hit its primary goal in a phase 3 clinical trial as a treatment for Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The blood cancer therapy works by slowing the activity of BCR-ABL1, a gene sequence found in an abnormal chromosome 22, often seen in people with certain types of leukemia.
Just two months ago, those two companies reached a licensing agreement regarding Takeda’s candidate therapy alisertib, which is being studied as a possible treatment for breast cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, among other cancer indications. Puma paid $7 million in upfront fees and agreed to pay up to $287.3 million more in milestone payments for commercial rights to the drug.
The thought in the markets Monday appears to be that any success for one Takeda pipeline drug improves the chances that its other drugs will succeed. And alisertib, like ponatinib, is a kinase inhibitor.
Puma Biotechnology’s only commercialized therapy and source of revenue is Nerlynx, which is approved to treat breast cancer. The biotech company had $54.3 million in revenue in the third quarter, up 25% year over year. It reported an earnings per share (EPS) loss of $0.01 in the quarter, an improvement over its EPS loss of $1.09 in the same period last year. The company is looking to expand its commercial therapies, and its alisertib deal is part of that effort. But the connection between Takeda’s clinical trial success with ponatinib and its deal with Puma is a bit of a reach, so don’t be surprised to see Puma Biotechnology’s stock slide on Tuesday.
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