Shares of Alder Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALDR), a clinical-stage biotech focused on migraines, rose as much as 14% in afternoon trading on Friday. The jump was in response to the news that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE:TEVA) is scrapping part of a late-stage study of a potential rival to Alder's lead compound eptinezumab. Alder's stock has since cooled off, but was still up about 6% as of 3:58 p.m. EDT.
Teva had been funding a phase 3 clinical trial called Enforce, designed to study a compound called fremanezumab as a treatment for chronic cluster headache and episodic cluster headache. The study was also designed to capture long-term safety data.
The company announced today that a futility analysis showed that the drug was unlikely to meet the study's primary endpoint in chronic cluster headaches. As a result, management decided to scrap that part of the program. However, Teva said that is it moving forward as planned with the portion of the study devoted to episodic cluster headaches.
Alder's investors took this as good news, since eptinezumab would likely compete with fremanezumab should both drugs make it to market.
The market for migraine drugs is huge and could support multiple drugs, so I don't think that competition should be investors' top concern right now. Instead, this company's future hinges on its ability to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration for eptinezumab. Management plans on sending the drug off for regulatory review in early 2019, so the best move that Alder's bulls can make right now is to remain patient.