Why KYTHERA Biopharmaceuticals Inc. Shares Shot Higher

KYTHERA shares soar after reacquiring the full rights to its lead experimental drug outside the U.S. and Canada. Find out what this means for you.

Mar 11, 2014 at 4:12PM

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 KYTHERA Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KYTH), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing prescription products targeted at the aesthetic medicine market, jumped by as much as 12% after the company announced it had acquired all rights to ATX-101 outside the United States and Canada.

So what: According to KYHTERA's press release, the company has acquired all rights to ATX-101, its submental fat (i.e., unwanted fat under a patient's chin) reduction drug, outside of the U.S. and Canada from its development partner, Bayer (NASDAQOTH:BAYRY). Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer will receive $33 million in KYTHERA common stock, plus a $51 million note that KYTHERA must pay no later than 2024. Bayer remains eligible to receive long-term sales milestone for ATX-101 as well. KYTHERA also notes that it's on track to file for a new drug application for ATX-101 in the second quarter.

Now what: Anytime a wholly clinical-stage company can reacquire the rights to a promising compound outside the U.S. for what is basically the equivalent of a common stock issuance and a 10-year loan I'd say they've done a pretty good job. The market for aesthetic medicines is huge because economic fluctuations tend to take a backseat to consumers' self-confidence, so with that respect ATX-101 future sales look promising. Current peak annual sales estimates, assuming approval, vary wildly, but sit most commonly around $500 million. While KYTHERA's current value of $1 billion may seem reasonable, consider that it's splitting that revenue in the U.S. and Canada with Bayer. Given that, I believe much of ATX-101's catalysts, including its possible approval and launch, may have already been priced into KYHTERA's shares.

KYTHERA shares have soared over the past year, but even it may find difficulty in keeping pace with this top stock in 2014
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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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