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What: Shares of Epizyme (NASDAQ:EPZM), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a therapeutic focus on treating cancer, soared as much as 18% after the company announced that it received a milestone and licensing payment for reaching a third target in an ongoing collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK).
So what: According to the press release, Epizyme received $4 million for discovering the third of three histone methyltransferase, or HMT, targets in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline using its proprietary discovery platform. This marks the third such instance since January in which GlaxoSmithKline has given Epizyme a milestone and licensing payment (the other two totaled $2 million and $4 million).
Now what: Epizyme isn't exactly hurting for cash, holding $123.6 million in the bank as of the latest quarter. However, given that the company is burning through through $50 million annually with ongoing trials and research, even a $4 million payment can be seen in positive light. The real excitement revolves around how seemingly quickly Epizyme was able to discover three HMT compounds, which lends a lot of hope that Epizyme could make many additional discoveries along this pathway in a short amount of time. Of course, we're also talking about very, very early stage ideas here, so it'd be wise for shareholders not to get too caught up in that noise until we have some clinically concrete data.
Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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