Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRPT), a biotech developing novel treatments for rare disorders, saw its shares rise by a healthy 10.7% last month, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. The primary catalyst behind this noteworthy move northward was the outstanding performance of the company's Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) drug, Exondys 51, during the second-quarter. In short, the drug's Q2 sales came in at a whopping 56% higher than consensus estimates for the three-month period.
Heading into Sarepta's second-quarter earnings release, there were some lingering doubts about the current state of Exondys 51's commercial launch. Some payers, after all, have publicly stated that they weren't going to cover the drug due to its uncertain efficacy profile and stately $300,000 a year price tag. Obviously, those concerns turned out to be largely overblown based on the drug's exceptional performance during the prior quarter.
Not surprisingly, Sarepta's management quickly decided to take advantage of this elevated share price by announcing a $250 million public offering to reportedly bolster the company's balance sheet, fund ongoing clinical activities, and potentially explore external pipeline opportunities.
While an external licensing deal would certainly be a positive development for this early commercial-stage biotech, investors probably shouldn't get their hopes up about this possibility just yet. The average price to bring a novel drug to market in the United States, after all, presently stands at a jaw-dropping $4 billion, which is why even minor licensing deals often require sizable upfront milestone payments.
Put simply, Sarepta's best bet, based on its current financial condition, might be to explore buying a drug discovery platform that could eventually generate some intriguing pipeline candidates down the road. Although such a move may not be particularly exciting for shareholders looking for near-term growth drivers, it would push the company into the next-stage of its evolution, and provide a back-up plan in case its exon-skipping DMD therapies don't work out as planned.
The bottom line is that Exondys 51 is probably going to remain the company's main value driver for a long time to come -- even though management is already talking up the idea of building out a broader pipeline of complementary therapies.