Why This 27-Employee Biotech is Outperforming Every Public Massachusetts Company This Year

Why This 27-Employee Biotech is Outperforming Every Public Massachusetts Company This Year October 20, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

NORWOOD, Mass. – Shares of tiny Corbus Pharmaceuticals have grown more than seven-fold over the past 12 months as the company continues to leverage its way into the cystic fibrosis market behind its experimental drug, Resunab.

Resunab, a preferential agonist to the CB2 receptor expressed on activated immune cells and fibroblasts, is currently being evaluated in three separate Phase II clinical studies in diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis (scleroderma), cystic fibrosis and diffuse cutaneous, skin-predominant dermatomyositis.

At the end of summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an open-label extension to the Phase II trial of Resunab for systemic sclerosis, allowing patients to receive the drug for an additional 12 months. Systemic sclerosis affects around 70,000 people in the United States. About four or five of every 10 patients in the Unites States with systemic sclerosis die within 10 years of disease onset, usually from cardiopulmonary disease such as restrictive (fibrotic) lung disease, pulmonary hypertension or sudden death. Resunab was granted Orphan Drug Designation for the treatment of systemic sclerosis by the FDA in June 2015. The company said it plans to seek Orphan Drug Designation in Europe for the treatment of both CF and systemic sclerosis by the end of 2016.

Next year Corbus, which has 27 employees, plans to launch a Phase II trial to see how Resunab fares in treating systemic lupus erythematosus. That trial will be sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

Over the past year, shares of Corbus have skyrocketed from $1.90 per share this time last year to a high of $9.79 earlier this month before sliding back to this morning’s price of $7.05 per share, as of 9:43 a.m. The stock performance has made Corbus the best publicly traded biotech in Massachusetts, the Boston Business Journal’s Don Seiffert said this morning. Investors have certainly been pleased with their returns on investment so far, but they are likely keeping a watchful eye as the company prepares to announce data results from its systemic sclerosis trial, the Journal reported. If that data, as well as its looming data from the cystic fibrosis trial which is expected in early 2017, is positive, the Journal said that could fuel rumors of a possible acquisition, which would send stock prices even higher. One company that would certainly take note of the CF trial, if the results are positive, is nearby Vertex Pharmaceuticals , one of the leading companies in the cystic fibrosis market. In a recent interview with XConomy, Jeffrey Leiden, Vertex’s chief executive officer, said the company continues to look at bringing new cystic fibrosis treatment options—either developed in-house or by an outside company—under the Vertex umbrella.

The Journal noted that company officials are certainly anticipating positive results based off company executives snapping up shares of Corbus, according to insider trading reports.

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