PhaseRx Inc (PZRX) Shares Jump on Takeover Speculation


pzrx logoInvestors are racing to buy PhaseRx Inc (NASDAQ:PZRX) shares, after the biopharmaceutical company said its board of directors has begun a review of strategic alternatives that could include a sale, merger or other transaction.

PhaseRx shares reacted to the news, jumping nearly 30% to $1.15 as of 12:53PM. PZRX has a 1-year high of $3.30 and a 1-year low of $0.54. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $0.77 and its 200-day moving average is $0.98.

In addition, PZRX announced that its board of directors has made a determination to conduct a restructuring of operations to reduce short term operating costs and delay the development of its lead product candidate PRX-OTC. This reorganization includes a reduction in PhaseRx’s workforce by 10 employees, including some executive officers. These efforts are aimed at preserving the company’s cash resources. As of June 30, 2017, PhaseRx had cash and equivalents of $8.4 million and a total of 20 employees.

In September, the company announced that its second drug development candidate, PRX-ASL, for the treatment of argininosuccinate lyase deficiency (ASLD), has received orphan drug designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA grants orphan drug designation to investigational drugs and biologics that are intended for the treatment of rare diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. Orphan drug status is intended to facilitate drug development for rare diseases and may provide several benefits to drug developers, including assistance with clinical study design and drug development, tax credits for qualified clinical trials costs, exemptions from certain FDA application fees, and seven years of market exclusivity upon regulatory product approval.

PhaseRx, Inc. operates as a biopharmaceutical company that develops a portfolio of mRNA products to correct inherited, life-threatening liver diseases in children. Its product portfolio targets the three urea cycle disorders ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency; argininosuccinate lyase deficiency; and argininosuccinate synthetase deficiency. The company was founded by Robert W. Overell, Patrick S. Stayton, Allan S. Hoffman, Oliver W. Press, and Paul H. Johnson on March 9, 2006 and is headquartered in Seattle, WA.