Which Two Biotechs Can Move Further? Athersys, Inc. (ATHX) and Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (KERX)
New York, NY – GDP INSIDER – 04/20/2014.
This article discusses two companies: Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX) and Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KERX)
Athersys, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHX) shares plummeted in Friday’s trading session as its stroke therapy failed a mid-stage trial. The shares were down 36% to $1.40 on volume of 26.6 million shares compared to an average of 1.9 million shares traded daily. The stem cell therapy was the company’s only one to reach human trials to date. The treatment, called MultiStem, did not show a significant difference from patients given a placebo as measured by the Global Stroke Recovery Assessment scale. While it did not show efficacy when given after 36 hours, it did show signs that it was more effective when given within 36 hours. The study results are a clear negative, but the failure may largely have come from a poorly designed study. The fact it showed efficacy under 36 hours is at least marginally positive. While this will slow down its development, it is not a permanent road block. Investors can look to buy on the pullback.
Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KERX) stock declined by 6.8% on Friday to $11.45 per share. The stock trades towards the bottom end of its 52-week range of $10.85 – $18.45. The biotech company is focused on providing therapies for patients with renal disease. Its primary product is called Auryxia. In the two months since its launch, sales for Auryxia were slower than expected. This has contributed to the shares falling by 19% year-to-day. In addition to the low sales levels, prescription renewals for the drug are also low. There is some concern that the drug causes irritation in the GI tract which has led to the low renewal levels. The primary competitive drug, called Velphoro, is noted to have several advantages versus Auryxia, but it also has relatively low sales levels. The overall size and interest by this class of patients is less than expected. This could present a long-term issue for KERX and its shareholders.
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