Shares of Inhibitex (Nasdaq:INHX) soared on Friday, after the drug developer said early data from a mid-stage study showed that a 200-milligram dose of its potential hepatitis C treatment did well in reducing the virus in patients.
Inhibitex said the dose of the drug, labeled INX-189, was well tolerated, with no serious side effects, when given to patients with a certain form of chronic hepatitis who have not been treated. The drug was administered for seven days. Analysts have called INX-189 a promising treatment for Hepatitis C, a disease that is expected to become a larger public health problem as baby boomers get older. Hepatitis C is the primary cause of liver transplants in the U.S.
Shares of the Alpharetta, Ga., company climbed as high as $9.16 in early trading.
On Friday, October 7th, when shares were trading at $2.96 we told our premium scubscribers that shares were starting to climbing quietly after a big insider sale totaling over 233K shares. We said that the stock had battled back, and that there were 2,782,200 shares short and pressure to cover was mounting as bulls continue to push the stock price higher. Days later on Wednesday, 12 October 2011, we told the rest of our readers about INHX and pointed to the higher than usual trading volume as shares had moved beyond the $3 mark.
We reminded our readers that smart money was betting heavily on Inhibitex with institutions owning 63.20% of the firm's 78.3M shares out with the fully diluted number at only 96.4M. Just days ago, Deutsche Bank has initiated coverage on Inhibitex with a Buy rating and $6 price target.
While shares have more than doubled in price this morning, we remind readers that the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases meeting is coming up in San Francisco. One might expect that the company will be making more headlines in the days to come as INHX plans a number of studies to evaluate the drug alone and in combination with other antiviral treatments.
Inhibitex's pipeline addresses significant viral and bacterial infections, including herpes zoster (shingles), chronic hepatitis C, and S. aureus infections. The company's product pipeline includes: FV-100, a bicyclic nucleoside analogue in development for the treatment of herpes zoster (shingles), Aurexis®, a humanized monoclonal antibody with a high affinity and specificity to clumping factor A (ClfA), which is expressed by virtually all strains of S. aureus and INX-189, indicated for Hepatitis C.
As one colleague puts it: 'Welcome to biotech, where a promising idea is all you need, and where stocks trade anywhere from 6 months to 2 years into the future.'
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