What happened

Shares of Akebia Therapeutics (NASDAQ:AKBA) were jumping 10.3% higher as of 11:28 a.m. EST on Friday after rising as much as 18.2% earlier in the morning. The biotech didn't announce any new developments. However, it appears that investors are continuing to buy up shares after two key events: regulatory filings last week revealed that key insiders were buying more of the stock, and on Nov. 9, the company announced positive results after 52 weeks for its lead candidate vadadustat in two late-stage studies conducted in Japan.

So what

Sustained momentum that continues for days and weeks after big news for a small biotech stock sometimes is a sign that institutional investors are scooping up shares. These big investors typically don't build their positions all at once but instead buy relatively smaller positions over a period of time.

Businessman pointing to a chart line sloping upward.

Image source: Getty Images.

There's no way to know for sure at this point if that's what is happening with Akebia. However, it wouldn't be surprising if that's the case. The company's positive results from the Japanese studies of vadadustat in treating anemia due to chronic kidney disease (CKD) have heightened expectations for good results from U.S. late-stage studies of the drug.

Now what

Investors now must wait to see how Akebia's lead candidate fares in those U.S. studies. The company expects to report results from one study in the second quarter of 2020 and another in the middle of next year.