Harriet Lefton

About the Author Harriet Lefton

Harriet originates from the UK where she worked as a journalist specializing in the metal markets. She graduated from the University of Cambridge before becoming a qualified UK lawyer.

Wednesday’s Biotech Movers: Ibio Inc (IBIO) Rallies, Ocular Therapeutix Inc (OCUL) Tumbles, Alder Biopharmaceuticals Inc (ALDR) Dives

Ibio Inc (NYSEMKT:IBIO) shares are rising fast in Wednesday’s trading session. Currently shares in the plant-based biopharmaceutical developer are up 13.5% since the open and are trading at $0.41. The reason for the spike lies in the announcement of US patent approval for AzarGen Biotech, a collaborator of Ibio in developing monoclonal antibodies for the South African market.

The granted patent is for synthetic promoter technology- specifically SYNTHETIC PROMOTER CONSTRUCT FOR TRANSGENE EXPRESSION (US9670497). “For this project, AzarGen’s synthetic promoters are being tested with the objective of including the top performer in iBio’s proprietary protein production vector,” said Robert Erwin, ibio’s President.

Ibio develops drugs for a range of fibrotic diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, while AzarGen is a biotechnology company focused on developing human therapeutic proteins using advanced genetic engineering and synthetic biology techniques in plants.

Ocular Therapeutix Inc (NASDAQ:OCUL) shares are plunging by over 20% in today’s trading, and are now at $6.06. The eye care biotech has just been hit by the news that the FDA is again rejecting its lead eye drug candidate Dextenza.

A complete response letter rejecting the new drug application was received for OCUL’s Dextenza, which helps treat ocular pain following ophthalmic surgery. The letter referred to problems in manufacturing processes and analytical testing which led to the contamination of some drug batches. Manufacturing problems hampered the company’s first Dextenza submission in 2016.

Ocular CEO Amar Sawhney plans to resubmit the eye drug in due course and says “Importantly, there were no clinical issues identified in the CRL pertaining to efficacy or safety related to the post-surgical pain indication. We believe that DEXTENZA can be approved once these open manufacturing items are resolved.”

At the same time, the company and its executives are facing fraud allegations in the federal court for attempting to minimize the extent of the issues revealed by an FDA inspection of its manufacturing facility in May.

Ocular has a Moderate Buy analyst consensus rating on TipRanks based on the 1 buy and 2 hold ratings the stock has received recently. With prices falling, the $25.50 average analyst price target, this now stands at a huge 308% upside from the current share price.

Alder Biopharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ALDR) shares are sinking by 16% in Wednesday’s trading. The shares are now trading at $10.25. Alder Biopharma is down after announcing that it will offer 12.5 million common shares in an underwritten public offering. The company also announced that it will offer underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 1.875 million additional common shares.

Alder is developing a monoclonal antibody for the prevention of migraine which can be administered via infusion. The antibody is currently at the pivotal-stage, and the funds raised from the offering will help the company continue the drug’s development. This breaks down into various different activities including completing an ongoing infusion pivotal trial, the planned submission of a Biologics License Application (BLA) to the FDA and other commercialization activities.

The stock has a cautiously optimistic Moderate Buy analyst consensus rating from the Street. In the last three months, the stock has received 6 buy ratings, 1 hold rating and 1 sell rating from analysts. The average price target from these analysts of $33.50 now translates into a whopping 221% above the current share price.


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