Why Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc. Stock Swooned

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 Portola Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PTLA  ) , a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical focused on developing therapies to combat thrombosis and other hematologic disorders, dipped 10% today after the company announced a collaboration with Daiichi Sankyo (NASDAQOTH: DSNKY  ) .

So what: According to a midday press release, Portola has entered into a second collaborative phase 3 agreement with Daiichi Sankyo to utilize andexanet alfa, its investigational Factor Xa inhibitor antidote, and Daiichi's Factor Xa inhibitor edoxaban. These studies, which will be known as ANNEXA, are scheduled to begin next year. This collaboration is considered nonexclusive, with Portola receiving an up-front payment, as well as additional development and regulatory milestone payments. Portola will maintain full worldwide rights to its Factor Xa inhibitor antidote.

Now what: Generally speaking, today's announcement is good news, but there some factors to consider. For one, a nonexclusive agreement allows Portola to collaborate with all Factor Xa inhibitors, but it also doesn't lock in a partner that clinical-stage biotech investors would love to see. In addition, since receiving the breakthrough therapy designation, Portola has been on fire; a cooling off period of shareholder profit-taking was expected. Lastly, a lack of definitive up-front payment and royalty figures might be upsetting existing shareholders who are left to ponder how lucrative its nonexclusive partnership with Daiichi Sankyo really is. Ultimately, I believe Portola is worth adding to your watchlist, but with a valuation north of $1 billion and no FDA-approved therapies as of yet, I'm certainly not a buyer here.

Portola may offer plenty of potential, but this stock that Warren Buffett recently bought nearly 9 million shares of might leave it in the dust! 
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Sean Williams

A Fool since 2010, and a graduate from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Economics, Sean specializes in the healthcare sector and in investment planning topics. You'll usually find him writing about Obamacare, marijuana, developing drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices, Social Security, taxes, or any number of other macroeconomic issues.

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