Why Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. Shares Shot Higher

Halozyme soars after releasing its first-quarter results and supplying an update on the development of pancreatic cancer drug hopeful PEGPH20.

May 13, 2014 at 1:01PM

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 Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ:HALO), a biopharmaceutical company that develops human enzymes that alter human tissues and make for more effective drug delivery, jumped as much as 25% after reporting its first-quarter results and providing an update on experimental pancreatic cancer drug PEGPH20 in study 202.

So what: The big share-price-driving news was the announcement from CEO Helen Torley that following its temporary halt of PEGPH20 in early April due to thromboembolic event concerns, the company supplied the data monitoring committee with additional requested information, and has been informed that "they [DMC] now support continued enrollment of patients and dosing of PEGPH20 in the trial with the proposed study modifications."

For the quarter, Halozyme produced $12 million in revenue, up slightly from the $11.8 million reported in the prior year, while its loss widened to $26.5 million, or $0.22 per share, from $19.3 million, or $0.17 per share in Q1 2013. As Halozyme noted, larger investments in its clinical pipeline results in its wider loss. By comparison, Wall Street was expecting a narrower loss of just $0.14 per share.

Now what: As with most predominantly clinical-stage companies, investors are more than willing to overlook a wider loss if it's to advance or expand a clinical pipeline. As for PEGPH20, its clinical hold should, in my opinion, never have resulted in the cataclysmic tumble that Halozyme shareholders endured. It's simply enrolling in a phase 2a study, and should hardly be a blip in terms of overall valuation for Halozyme, so it's good to see at least part of the company's value returning from its drop last month. With MabThera SC, which utilizes Halozyme's subcutaneous delivery technology, now approved in Europe, and Hylenex meeting the mark in the CONSISTENT-1 trial, I'd suggest that there could be some decent upside to Halozyme's shares here, and would encourage more risk-willing and biotech-savvy investors to take a deeper dive.

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