Why Amarin Shares Took Flight

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of biotechnology firm Amarin (Nasdaq: AMRN  ) rocketed higher by as much as 17% this morning following speculation that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will rule favorably on its heart drug hopeful, AMR101.

So what: Amarin, which is currently awaiting a decision from the FDA for AMR101 that aims to cut fat content in blood, had originally sought patent protection on AMR101's three patents through 2030 but was turned down by the PTO in 2011. Now, it appears investors suspect the PTO has changed its tune and a favorable patent ruling could be in the cards that would protect AMR101 from generic competition for a long time (assuming FDA approval). That could be good news since it's going to be butting heads against GlaxoSmithKline's (NYSE: GSK  ) heart drug Lovaza, and Glaxo's deep pockets.

Now what: While this has lined up to be great news for Amarin, I wouldn't get too excited. Today's move higher is largely speculative as we have no confirmation that the PTO is going to approve Amarin's patents. The really big date is July 26, 2012, which is Amarin's PDUFA date and where we'll find out if the FDA has approved or denied AMR101. For now, I'm perfectly happy being an innocent bystander.

Craving more input? Start by adding Amarin to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

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