What happened

Shares of Aerie Pharmaceuticals (AERI) jumped nearly 22% today after the company published an October investor presentation. The slide deck indicates that the ophthalmology, or eye-focused, pharma experienced a surge in the number of bottles of Rhopressa and Rocklatan shipped to pharmacies in the week ending Oct. 4.

Investors usually have to wait for prescription and bottle data sets from IQVIA to be published to gauge the trajectory of recent drug launches, but the latest numbers from IQVIA end on Sept. 27. Therefore, the surge in total product shipped is giving investors reason to cheer, especially after a surprisingly sluggish start.

As of 1:01 p.m. EDT, the stock had settled to a 17% gain.

A woman checking her phone and pumping her fist in excitement as cash falls around her.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Rhopressa is a rho kinase, or ROCK, inhibitor approved to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in individuals with glaucoma. Rocklatan is a combination of the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Rhopressa and latanoprost that launched in May 2019. Analysts estimate that Rhopressa could have peak annual sales of about $400 million, while Rocklatan could come close to $1 billion.

Aerie Pharmaceuticals had originally expected full-year 2019 revenue of $115 million at the midpoint but had to walk that back to just $75 million after experiencing slower-than-expected sales trajectories for its franchise in the first six months of the year. The sudden surge in sales -- driven by Rocklatan, it appears -- to pharmacies in the first week of October won't reverse that, but it's a good sign nonetheless.

Now what

The recent update suggests Aerie Pharmaceuticals can get its drug products back on a promising trajectory after all. Investors would certainly welcome that, especially after seeing the pharma stock fall nearly 60% in the last year. That said, investors shouldn't rely too heavily on week-to-week updates and should instead focus on the long-term trajectory of the company.