Protalix Bio Therapeutics, Inc.(NYSE:PLX)
Canadian-based Knight Therapeutics (TSX:GUD) is a specialty pharmaceutical company that acquires, licenses, and markets pharmaceuticals the company considers to be disruptive prescription pharmaceuticals. Knight also invests in life science companies with the goal of securing future distribution rights. The latter seems to be the case with Knight’s purchase of 6.2 million shares of Israel-based Protalix Bio Therapeutics, Inc. (NYSE:PLX). Knight did not directly take ownership of the shares. They were actually purchased by Abir Therapeutics. Abir is Knight’s Israeli-based, wholly owned subsidiary which also happens to own over 28% of Medison Pharma – Israel’s 3rd largest pharmaceutical company.
Protalix Bio Therapeutics Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company develops recombinant therapeutic proteins expressed through its proprietary plant cell-based expression system, ProCellEx®. Protalix’s first product manufactured by ProCellEx, taliglucerase alfa, was approved for marketing by the U.S. FDA. Protalix has licensed the world-wide development and commercialization rights to Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) – excluding Brazil. Protalix’s development pipeline includes the following product candidates: pegunigalsidase alfa, a treatment for Fabry disease, OPRX-106, an orally-delivered anti-inflammatory treatment, and alidornase alfa for the treatment of Cystic Fibrosis – as well as others.
Last week, Protalix provided the public with a 2016 review of its operations and guidance for 2017. Highlights include a $24.3 million purchase of taliglucerase alfa from the Brazilian Health Ministry for the treatment of Gaucher’s disease. Added to previous deliveries of the drug, this sale could represent $42 million in annual revenues. A Phase 2 study’s interim results for alidnorase alfa, for the treatment of Cystic Fibrosis, was encouraging. The company exchanged a $69 million, 4.5% secured convertible note due in November of 2018 for 23.8 million common shares and a $54.1 million, 7.5% secured convertible note due in 2021.
In 2017, Protalix (NYSE:PLX) expects to release full results of two Phase 2 clinical studies concerning alidornase alfa and OPRX-106. They also expect to complete patient enrollment on their Phase 3 clinical study for pegunigalsidase alfa for the treatment of Fabry disease – interim results are expected in 2018.
Two firms follow NYSE:PLX. Both rate the shares as a “Strong Buy”. In 2009, PLX shares rose over 500% and peaked at just under $13. Since then, Protalix (NYSE:PLX) has been on a relatively steady decline. Today’s price action represents an annual high. No doubt that the investment by Knight gave investors confidence in a stock that had lost some admirers.
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