Immunomedics, Inc. (NASDAQ:IMMU)

Akebia Therapeutics (Nasdaq: AKBA) Up on News of Partnership

Akebia Therapeutics; Nasdaq: AKBA

Shares of Cambridge, MA-based Akebia Therapeutics (Nasdaq: AKBA) were up over 40% on company reports that they have formed a $1 billion partnership with Otsuka Pharmaceutical for its late-stage drug Vadadustat, an oral treatment for anemia related to chronic kidney disease. The deal includes $265 million in committed cash, with $125 million as an upfront payment and another $35 million due in early 2017.

President and CEO of Akebia Therapeutics, John Butler remarked on the deal in a press release:

“Our alliance with Otsuka, one of the world’s innovative pharmaceutical leaders, also allows us to prepare an optimal launch of Vadadustat, as we will equally share commercial responsibility. Otsuka brings a well-established commercial presence and infrastructure in the U.S., and we share a strong commitment to improving patients’ lives by delivering important new therapeutic options. This deal also underscores the confidence that we and others have placed in the underlying value of Vadadustat and in our ability to bring innovative therapies to patients.”

In the phase 2a trial Vadadustat significantly increased hemoglobin levels compared to baseline in a dose-dependent manner across all treatment arms (P < .0001). Further, Vadadustat provides a physiologic reticulocyte response, ie, newly formed red blood cells (RBCs), which leads to a more gradual and consistent increase in hemoglobin levels than what is seen with injectable rESA therapies. This means that these improvements occur without causing patients’ hemoglobin to rise to levels that cause concern.

The consensus pricae target among anayalsts is $17. Four analysts cover AKBA with two assigning a rating of “Buy’ and two with a rating of “Strong buy”. Akebia Therapeutics has no reported sales and has never experienced positive EPS. In the past AKBA has trade near $7 but also traded near the $10 handle this past April.

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Ticker Symbol AKBA
Last Price a/o 10:00 AM EST  $               9.96
Average Volume 143,400
Market Cap $311.2 million
Sales $-
Shares Outstanding 37.27 million
Share Float 31.53 million
Shortable Yes
Optionable Yes
Inside Ownership 0.50%
Short Float 5.94%
Short Interest Ratio 13.05
Quarterly Return -9.73%
YTD Return -35.37%
Year Return -32.39%