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What: Shares in Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ANTH) jumped by 10% earlier today after the company announced after the bell yesterday that it would present updated data from its phase 2b study evaluating blisibimod as a treatment for lupus at an industry conference tomorrow.
So What: Anthera Pharmaceuticals is developing blisibimod, a subcutaneous B-Cell activating factor inhibiting therapy that it hopes can reduce the symptoms suffered by lupus patients.
Although the causes of lupus aren't fully understood, evidence suggests that over-expression of B-cell activating factor is common in autoimmune diseases, including lupus, and early research suggests that inhibiting that expression can improve disease symptoms.
Anthera Pharmaceuticals' blisibimod trial data will be presented in a poster at the annual European League Against Rheumatism conference showing that blisibimod is associated with statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in fatigue, based on patient-reported responses to a common fatigue scale.
Now What: Blisibimod is Anthera Pharmaceuticals' most advanced clinical program, and investors are eagerly awaiting data that could lead to an eventual regulatory approval. The company expects that data from its blisibimod trial in lupus will be available in the second half of next year.
Although there is a significant need for new lupus treatment options, investors may want to remain cautious on Anthera Pharmaceuticals. The company doesn't yet have any products on the market, and its research and administrative costs resulted in the company losing $7.7 million last quarter.
Since there's no guarantee that blisibimod, or any other drug in Anthera Pharmaceuticals' pipeline, will ever win over regulators, and because Anthera Pharmaceuticals has just $41.6 million in cash on its books, this one is just too risky for me to chase higher at this point.
Todd Campbell has no position in any stocks mentioned. Todd owns E.B. Capital Markets, LLC. E.B. Capital's clients may have positions in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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