Biotech Movers: Eleven Biotherapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:EBIO) and Horizon Pharma PLC (NASDAQ:HZNP)

A fresh week is underway in the biotechnology sector and there’s plenty slated for release as the week matures. Earnings dominated last week but, on top of the standard reports and accompanying conference calls, we also saw a spate of fresh inputs from a pipeline perspective.

Here’s a look at two end of the week movers last week with an analysis of what caused the volatility in each and what we expect next. The two companies in focus for the session are Eleven Biotherapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:EBIO) and Horizon Pharma PLC (NASDAQ:HZNP).

So, first up, Eleven.

Eleven hasn’t had a great year and this month has compounded the overarching downside momentum that shareholders have had to put up with along the way. At the turn of 2017, Eleven went for a little over $2.30 a piece. By the close of play last week, this had dipped to $1.11 – a more than 50% depreciation across the first few quarters of the year.

The latest news, an earnings report and some pipeline updates as part of a conference call, has weakened sentiment some more. The company didn’t record any revenues for the second quarter of the year (although this isn’t particularly unusual, it’s a development stage entity) and net loss for the period came in at $7.3 million, widening from the $6.5 million recorded during the same period last year.

Cash figure (which is always the most important figure for a company at this end of the biotechnology market) was $15.8 million as of June 30, 2017, compared to $25.3 million as of December 31, 2016. That’s not terrible, but it’s far from a clean run and it doesn’t remove the risk of dilution going forward for Eleven.

Pipeline updates were somewhat limited in that we didn’t really get any fresh quantitative information, but we did learn that there’s a slight delay on expected topline from a phase III in the Vicinium program and 12-month data now expected at some point during the second quarter of 2019. That’s something of a source of disappointment for Eleven and its shareholders and (alongside the limited runway and the resulting potential for burn) it’s what’s putting pressure on market capitalization.

Chances are that this company is going to continue to bounce along in and around its current level for the foreseeable future. There aren’t any major catalysts outside of the above-discussed program (and a couple of other initiations) and so while we might see a bit of speculative loading ahead of time, there’s not really enough to reverse the longer-term trend.

Moving on, Horizon.

As noted above, some of last week’s moves were earnings and corporate update driven while others, like this Horizon move, was a bit more left field. The company announced that the law firm of Green, Griffith successfully asserted one of the Horizon’s patents covering a drug called Pennsaid 2% against a generic challenge from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA). Many reading will likely already be familiar with the latter, but for those new to the space it’s a generics giant that generates a large portion of its revenues from the development and sale of generic drugs in the US.

Many of these generic programs involve countersuits from parties that have a vested interest in not allowing the generics to hit shelves (and the price drop that comes with this commercialization run) and this win for Horizon is a major shield against competition – at least near term. The company generated a little over $92 million in revenues last year from sales of the 2% formulation, amounting to around 18% of total revenues during the period.

Things aren’t totally clear right now as to how the rest of this program is from a protection perspective, but the latest announcement covers a large proportion of the market until at least 2029.

On the back of this news, then, Horizon is picking up strength. The company was trading at around $11.89 a piece during the middle of last week. By the close of the week, this had risen to $13.31 – a more than 11% run in a matter of days. Chances are Horizon will hold onto this strength near term.

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