Why Idera Pharmaceuticals Inc. Shares Jumped

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 Idera Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IDRA  ) , a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing DNA- and RNA-based therapies, jumped by as much as 22% after announcing positive top-line data from its midstage study of IMO-8400 as a treatment for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

So what: According to Idera's press release, in its 32 patient phase 2 study IMO-8400 met both its primary and secondary endpoint, which was the evaluation of the safety and tolerability of the therapy, and the evaluation of the clinical activity of the drug. The release notes that the treatment was well tolerated with no "no treatment related discontinuation, serious adverse events or dose reductions." Clinical activity was measured by the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI). A score of PASI 50 (implying a 50% improvement compared to baseline at week 12) was achieved in nine of 20 patients at all doses compared to just one in seven for the placebo.

Now what: Today's results are obviously important for Idera for two key reasons. First, plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis, leaving it a potentially large target audience if IMO-8400 continues to perform well in trials and is eventually approved. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, it validates the clinical mechanism behind IMO-8400 and could potentially put the company on the radar of a larger pharmaceutical company looking to license out this development in the U.S. or abroad. I'd certainly prefer to see the full data set as opposed to just the top-line data before getting too excited, but I wouldn't argue against Idera working its way onto your watchlist in the meantime.

Idera may be soaring today, but it'll likely have a hard time keeping up with this top stock in 2014
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