Like many biotech stocks, Arbutus Biopharma (ABUS 0.97%) has been a loser for investors over the past 12 months. In this Motley Fool Live video, recorded on Jan. 26, Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli address a viewer's question about the stock.
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Keith Speights: "Good morning, Keith and Brian. I'm with you about your opening remarks. Question: What's your opinion about Arbutus Biopharma?" The ticker there is ABUS.
Brian Orelli: Yeah, they have hepatitis drugs, I believe, and they're in early to mid-stage. It's not one that I follow that closely, but obviously, I guess, they're doing hepatitis B versus hepatitis C.
Potentially, there's less competition there in hepatitis B versus hepatitis C. I think that's probably a better place to be looking than in companies that are developing drugs for hepatitis C just because the current medications work so well in hepatitis C, and hepatitis B, I'm not even sure that there's an actual cure for hepatitis B. I think it just knocks down the virus enough so that it's not replicating, but you basically have to take those drugs for as long as you live.
I think if they could develop a cure, it'd be great. One thing that's great about virus developers is that Phase 3 data often looks exactly like Phase 2 data because it's a virus and so you're not dealing with the difference of patient's genetic background.
That's the main reason why drugs have worked for some people and don't work for other people is because the genetic background of the patients are different, but the genetic background of the hepatitis B virus is the same. And so in general, if you have successful Phase 2 data, there's a high likelihood that that's going to translate into successful Phase 3 data.