(By Rich Bieglmieir) Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
) is the latest smallcap biotech to top iStock's weekly accumulation list. Last week, $23 million rolled into anti-inflammatory therapeutics company. While the absolute dollar amount doesn't stand out, it does when compared to ANTH's market-cap of $47 million – 49.62%.
The cash flow is a direct result of the company issuing a secondary public offering of 33 million shares of its common stock, offered at a price of $1.00 per share. Management plans on using the money to fund operations.
On June 27th, the company announced results from the Phase 2b PEARL-SC clinical study in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Management says the "200mg weekly, subcutaneous, blisibimod group demonstrates favorable trends in clinical response for the anticipated phase 3 severe lupus patient population. EMA validates development pathway for blisibimod."
In English, it means that Anthera plans on moving forward to phase 3 clinical studies. The conclusion of phase 2 is scheduled for September 30th. Afterwards, a determination of next steps will be made.
While approval to treat lupus would be good news for ANTH, iStock believes the market is relatively small. Lupus.org estimates that the chronic, autoimmune disease affects 1.2 million Americans with more than 16,000 new cases reported annually. Worldwide, 5 million people worldwide suffer from the disease.
We don't see Blisibimod as a blockbuster.
However, treating artery and heart inflammation is where we believe the game changer can be found.
In the US, heart disease is the leading cause of death, claiming approximately 1 million lives annually. You might be wondering, what does heart disease have to do with inflammation? When the heart gets infected or sick, the body uses inflammation to root out the cause; however, the remnants of this natural process can weaken and damage the heart. The aha moment just set in, didn't it?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by the time you are done reading this article, at least one person will have had a heart attack. It's estimated that the costs associated with heart disease cost the country nearly $500 billion a year.
As it stands now, Anthera Pharmaceuticals' lupus candidate is the only thing iStock sees in the pipeline. The next catalyst is likely to be the September 30 Phase 2 end date.
Between here and there, based on our technical analysis of ANTH's stock chart, iStock believes there is a better than 50% chance the stock price test all-time and July lows around 70 cents.
That would give new investors the ability to buy stock at roughly the same price as CEO, Paul Truex's recent purchase of 20,000 shares at 76cents.
P.S. – the big boss's previous transactions going back to November 2011 were all sells above $6.34. So far, his track record is about as good as they get.