What happened

Shares of the rare disease drugmaker BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BCRX) took investors on quite the ride last month. After shooting higher by as much as 44% in a single day, the biotech's shares ultimately ended the month down by a hefty 24.6%, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. 

Man holding forehead.

Image Source: Getty Images.

So what

BioCryst's dizzying month centered around the second interim data analysis of its oral hereditary angioedema (HAE) drug candidate BCX7353. While the company said that BCX7353 exhibited significant reductions in HAE attacks for both its 125 mg and the 350 mg doses and continued to show a top notch safety profile, this drug may still not be potent enough to take on Shire's (NASDAQ:SHPG) late-stage candidate lanadelumab. Shire, after all, is gearing up to file for lanadelumab's regulatory approval after the drug posted absolutely stellar pivotal stage results as a long-lasting treatment for HAE last month.

Now what 

BioCryst was hoping to overcome Shire's presumed first-mover advantage by offering a more convenient orally administered product. However, the data so far -- and mind you there hasn't been a definitive head-to-head study conducted -- suggest that lanadelumab is going to take home the best-in-class prize, and perhaps by a wide margin. As such, there's serious doubt that BCX7353 can make much headway in the HAE market, even as an alternative to injected or infused therapies.

Of course, this story could change as BCX7353's clinical program advances, but there's no denying that BioCryst may need to tap the public markets soon to shore up its financial position. The biotech, after all, had less than $100 million in cash at last count. 

In all, BioCryst might be a better watchlist candidate than a strong buy at this stage in the game for the reasons outlined above.