What: Shares of Cempra (NASDAQ:MLNT), a clinical-stage biopharma focused on developing next-generation antibiotics, were up more than 11% today on higher than normal volume.
So what: While there doesn't appear to be any specific news that justifies the large jump, the company did file an updated presentation with the SEC that outlines the company's current position and market opportunity, which could be providing its long-term investors with some reassurance that it is on track to deliver on its goals.
Now what: As a reminder, Cempra's shares were sold off hard earlier this month after the company released updated clinical information related to Solithromycin, its lead compound that is being studied as a treatment for Community Acquired Bacterial Pneumonia, or CABP. Cempra reported that patients who used Solithromycin experienced more adverse events than patients who used moxifloxacin, which is made by pharma giant Bayer AG (OTC:BAYRY), though most of these events were only classified as mild to moderate pain at the infusion site.
On the positive side, the two drugs showed similar levels of serious adverse events and deaths, so the differences between the two drugs appears to be minimal. Given that CABP is the leading cause of death due to infection in the United States, the need for drugs that work against antibiotic-resistant bacteria is huge, so the FDA may be willing to overlook this difference. Only time will tell if that is the case.
The presentation also shed some light on the prescribing habits of U.S. physicians, as the company let its investors know that roughly 4% of all physicians are responsible for about 40% of all total antibiotic prescriptions in the U.S. That fact might indicate that the company only needs to market to a small number of prescribers to get the word out. This could be done with a relatively small sales force, so it appears that the company has the option of marketing the drug on its own instead of needing a big pharma partner.
While giving investors more information is always a good thing, if you were bullish or bearish on Cempra's stock before this presentation was released, I see little reason to change your stance.