Here’s a look at what just happened in the biotechnology space as we draw this week to a close.
Some of the biggest news from the biotechnology space in a while hit press on Thursday, with generic and rug maker behemoth Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE:TEVA) announcing that it is set to conduct a large scale restructuring.
As per the company’s announcement, the plan will translate into annual costs savings of somewhere in the region of $3 billion, with this reduction target slated for the end of 2019. Right now, the company has an estimated cost base for 2017 of a little over $16.1 billion.
In line with the restructuring, Teva intends to reduce its global workforce by around 14,000 positions and, at the same time, will suspend its dividend indefinitely.
So what is the market response to this?
Well, normally when we see a restructuring like this hit press, it translates to some weakness in the share price (and, in turn, the market capitalization) of the company in question. This weakness derives from the implications of the necessity for this sort of action – specifically, that the company will be in trouble if it continues to operate in its present iteration or – even worse – that it’s already in trouble.
In this instance, however, markets are trading up on Teva.
At time of writing (shortly before the start of the US session on Friday) Teva is up close to 15% on its preannouncement capitalization and is currently holding a valuation of a little over $64 billion.
So what’s with the counterintuitive action?
Well, Teva has long been plagued with debt issues. Ask someone to name the company’s primary risk (as in, the main risk an investor would likely consider when thinking about picking up an exposure to Teva) and they’d highlight debt, almost certainly.
The $3 billion in cost savings will go some way to alleviating this issue but – at the same time – Teva has announced that it’s going to be selling off some of its major assets. Exactly what assets are included in this batch remains to be seen but the assumption is that Teva will be able to pay off a substantial amount of its debt with whatever cash it brings in.
Chances are we will see the company continue to gain strength heading into the weekly close as markets absorb the news on Friday.
Next up, Ampio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSEMKT:AMPE).
This one’s a little more of a traditional move.
Ampio announced some data on Thursday from a trial of one of its lead development assets, a drug called Ampion. The asset is under investigation as part of a phase III program set up to demonstrate that it can be both safe and effective in a target indication of severe osteoarthritis of the knee and the data that just hit press is rooted in the culmination of said investigation.
And things look pretty strong.
As per the announcement, a little over 71% of Ampion treated patients were reported as meeting what’s called the OMERACT-OARSI responder criteria (a gold standard industry metric in this patient population), which exceeds the physician reported threshold of 30% for a meaningful treatment in severe osteoarthritis of the knee (p < 0.001).
Additionally, responders experienced, on average, a 53% decrease in pain as measured by WOMAC A (which is another old standard pain and functionality metric), a 50% improvement in function as measured by WOMAC C and a 45% improvement in quality of life as measured by Patient Global Assessment (PGA).
Bottom line on this one is that the drug looks to have hit it out of the park and – in turn – looks set to pick up approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as and when it goes in front of the agency.
We haven’t had any word from Ampio as far as an exact target submission date for the NDA that underpins registration is concerned but, given that the end of this year is fast approaching, there’s a strong chance we’ll see the submission at some point during the second quarter of 2018.
At its most recent close, Ampio was trading up a little over 30% on its pre-data capitalization. Chances are we’ll see further appreciation as the week draws to a close and – beyond – into the NDA submission period.