Heron Therapeutics (HRTX -6.94%) saw its shares rise 14.9% this week. The stock, which closed at $8.68 last Friday, climbed to as high as $9.97 on Thursday. The stock is still down more than 54% for the year and is closer to its 52-week low of $8.29 than its high of $22.40.
The company announced on Thursday that its drug Zynrelef (bupivacaine and meloxicam) has been given Food and Drug Administration supplemental New Drug Application approval for more uses. The drug, the first FDA-approved dual-acting anesthetic, had already been approved in May for post-surgical pain relief after the removal of bunions, open inguinal hernia operations, or total knee replacement in adults. Now the new indications will include small to medium abdominal surgeries, lower extremity total joint replacements, and foot and ankle surgeries.
The expanded use will mean Zynrelef could be applied in surgeries that take place about 7 million times annually, according to Heron. The company also hinted that it sees broader applications for Zynrelef's use. The drug has two key benefits. It has shown to be more effective than just bupivacaine alone, the current standard of care for post-surgical pain, and it gives surgeons a non-opioid solution for post-surgical pain, reducing the possibility of addiction.
Heron Therapeutics is not a profitable company, but even prior to the new approval it had seen positive financial signs.
Since it was approved in May, Zynrelef has already brought in $2.1 million in sales through Sept. 30. That's a needed ray of sunshine because sales of the company's anti-nausea drugs for oncology patients are still down. Heron cites the impact of COVID-19 for reducing the rate of new cancer patient treatment starts, meaning there has been less call for its two key anti-nausea drugs, Cinvanti and Sustol, frequently prescribed to treat chemotherapy patients.
Overall, through nine months, the biotech company had $65.7 million in revenue, a drop of 3% year over year. The company also lost $166 million through nine months, compared to $165 million in the same period last year.
If you look at just the last quarter, however, the company's revenue of $23 million represented a gain of 1.6% year over year and its net loss was $52.4 million, compared to a loss of $58.2 million in the third quarter of 2020.
It may be a little early to go all in on Heron Therapeutics, but it's easy to see why investors are excited about the company's prospects for expanded label uses for Zynrelef.