Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Why Protagonist Therapeutics Is Skyrocketing Today

By Prosper Junior Bakiny - Updated May 8, 2020 at 12:05PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The company is set to start a pivotal study for one of its lead pipeline candidates.

What happened?

Shares of Protagonist Therapeutics (PTGX 9.62%) -- a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company -- are up by 111.6% as of 12:34 p.m. EDT on Friday. Protagonist Therapeutics released its fiscal first-quarter earnings report after the market closed on Thursday, and the company announced some exciting news regarding one of its most promising pipeline candidates, PTG-300.  

So what

In its quarterly update, Protagonist Therapeutics announced that it had chosen polycythemia vera -- a rare type of blood cancer that leads to an abnormal level of red blood cells -- as the first indication for which to run a pivotal study for PTG-300.

The company made this decision based on a Phase 2 study, the results of which Protagonist Therapeutics also revealed in a separate press release yesterday. During the study, six polycythemia vera patients treated with PTG-300 for up to 28 weeks experienced controlled levels of hematocrit, which refers to the percentage of red blood cells in the blood.

A man standing on a ladder drawing an upward-trending graph on a chalkboard

Image source: Getty Images.

The treatment also eliminated the need for phlebotomy -- a treatment for polycythemia vera that consists in removing blood from the patient's vein -- for these six patients. Protagonist Therapeutics plans on focusing its efforts and its resources on the upcoming pivotal study for PTG-300.

The company announced its decision to postpone a Phase 2 study for PN-943 -- a potential treatment for ulcerative colitis -- as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This move will also help Protagonist Therapeutics reduce its expenses.

Now what

Protagonist Therapeutics argues that there is a significant unmet need for polycythemia vera. The company estimates that the indication currently offers a market opportunity between $1 billion and $2 billion in the U.S. and Europe. In other words, if PG-300 is approved for the treatment of polycythemia vera, Protagonist Therapeutics and its shareholders could be handsomely rewarded. However, given that the pharma company has yet to even start this pivotal study for PG-300, perhaps investors should temper their expectations.

Prosper Junior Bakiny has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc. Stock Quote
Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc.
$11.40 (9.62%) $1.00

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/14/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.