Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Why Spark Therapeutics Caught Fire and Rallied Higher Today

By Todd Campbell - May 19, 2016 at 3:58PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Positive early-stage findings boost optimism in the company's therapy for hemophilia B.

Image source: Flickr user Steve Jurvetson.

What: After Spark Therapeutics (ONCE) reported promising results from a small early-stage drug trial, its shares skyrocketed by 12.4% today.

So what: The clinical-stage biotech is researching drugs that address genetic diseases by developing one-time, life-altering treatments. Today, Spark Therepeutics reported that three patients with hemophilia B were dosed with its SPK-9001, and that all three of them had factor IX activity at percentage levels of normal coincident with reduced risks of bleeding.

Specifically, one patient's activity was 28% of normal at 28 weeks, another was 30% at seven weeks, and the final patient was 16% after three weeks. According to the company, circulating factor-activity levels greater than or equal to 12% of normal are "considered to be sufficient to reduce the risk of joint bleeds and the need for prophylactic clotting factor infusions."

Now what: The finding is encouraging because it adds validity to Spark Therapeutics' research approach. However, results were from a very-small and early-stage trial, and because of that, they shouldn't be given too-much weight.

Nevertheless, SPK-9001 is being developed through a collaboration with Pfizer Inc. (PFE -0.23%), and if results remain strong, then Pfizer could agree to move this therapy into larger, later-stage trials. If it does, Pfizer will be responsible for funding those studies.

Because Spark Therapeutics is a young company without any revenue, it will trade based on trial whims and whispers. Rather than chasing shares higher, investors may be better off waiting to buy once shares have settled down. Personally, I'm going to wait at least until I see more data when the company presents at an industry conference on June 11. Even then, I may stick with other investment ideas that are further along, rather than take a flyer on SPK-9001.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
PFE
$52.31 (-0.23%) $0.12
Spark Therapeutics Stock Quote
Spark Therapeutics
ONCE

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
316%
 
S&P 500 Returns
112%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 07/02/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.