AntriaBio, Inc. (ANTB) is an emerging story in the developmental biopharmaceutical sector that may be worth keeping on the radar as volume has been picking up of late and the company's potential to alter the scope of the future insulin delivery market by creating a once-weekly injection of insulin to replace a once-or-twice daily version is starting to gain increased exposure from popular financial media outlets and from the investing community as a whole. Relatively new to the trading scene, AntriaBio became public through a reverse merger earlier this year after having first purchased the assets of PR Pharmaceuticals from bankruptcy court. PR Pharma had already invested tens of millions of dollars into the preclinical development of the above-mentioned once-weekly basal insulin shot, now known as AB101, but was unable to see its development through to fruition as the depths of the economic crisis dried up funding for many developmental biopharmas.
Now controlling the AB101 assets, AntriaBio has positioned itself, pending successful trials, to eventually enter the multi-billion dollar market of basal insulin delivery that is now dominated by Sanofi-Aventis' Lantus and Novo Nordisk's (NVO) Levenir, each of which requires patients to receive at least one shot daily. Those two products alone pull in over eight billion dollars annually, highlighting the potential of AB101 to to steal quick market share, should it reach the point of commercialization. Emphasizing that once-weekly advantage, it's understandable why AB101 would be attracting the increased attention that it is right now, as some investors may consider this a ground floor opportunity of a potential next-generation technology.
There will be some investors that are skeptical about buying into companies that have only recently become public via means of a reverse merger, but such methods are becoming more and more common, given the current economic climate where cost-cutting and efficiency is key. Reverse mergers, after all, provide a much cheaper path to becoming publicly traded than going through the expensive IPO process. Not all reverse mergers are created equally, however - neither are IPOs - but AntriaBio could be worth a look because of the potential of its newly-established pipeline, which could be set to meet major milestones throughout the year.
According to a presentation posted to the AntriaBio website, pre-clinical animal studies have already been completed for AB101 and the intention is to have the first wave of human data available by the end of the year. AntriaBio, according to the above-linked presentation, will initiate the human trials in Russia first, where the costs of conducting such trials are significantly lower and where patient recruitment is known to be up to ten times higher than in the US and Europe. The company does plan, however, to move forward with the FDA IND process while development in Russia continues, and having the early human data available from its Russian trials could help to expedite the initial IND process in the United States. Once the early data is established, AntriaBio will look to land regional and/or multi-national partners, according to recent company presentations. Once a partner is on board, investor concerns of dilutive financing deals that often accompany the pipeline progression of developmental companies will somewhat subside.
The related catalysts to watch for this year are discussions of the preclinical data, the initiation of the Russian trials and comments referring to the initiation of the IND process in the United States. Beyond that, it is also expected that some human data will be presented before the end of the year, too.
Beyond AB101, AntriaBio is also establishing a secondary pipeline product. A long-acting Glucagon-like peptide-1, also known as AB201, is approaching the pre-clinical stages and will be tested as a once-monthly replacement for the current standard of care. While the bulk of attention is slated to be paid to AB101 moving forward, a secondary pipeline product always eases investor nerves who would otherwise feel a company could be viewed as a 'one trick pony.'
Another item of interest for investors is the management team team that has been put in place since AntriaBio's inception. Numerous industry veterans have been brought on board who have an established history of bringing small biopharmaceutical start-ups through the point of commercialization and/or - maybe most notably for those looking for a shorter-term return - to the point of mergers and acquisitions. Although speculation about potential buyouts often accompany the development of high-profile products with potential through development, having a management team in place with an established record of consummating deals attracts even more interest to the discussion.
For an example of another company brought to life through a reverse merger which has also garnered its fair share of merger and acquisition talk, look no further than Organovo Holdings (ONVO). Organovo, quickly becoming a recognized leader in the field of 3D 'bioprinting', saw its share price nearly triple in quick fashion after its reverse merger about a year ago. Since then, bouts of volatility have led to many more trading opportunities, offering opportunity and profits for both traders and investors who may be accumulating for the long term. As always, such action emphasizes the ideal that it is always wise to utilize a handful of trading shares to bank at least some profits when available, even while potentially using the dips to accumulate a group of core shares to see the story out over the long term.
With ANTB's trading volume picking up as it has over the last week, it could be worth noting that opportune points to buy, sell and accumulate could be forthcoming, as the old adage goes that volume precedes price movement.
Shares initially spiked by twenty five percent on Monday morning before pulling back and closing the day flat, offering investors and/or traders a potential opportune point to monitor the stock. AB101 could be a game-changer if it makes through the point of development and it's highly likely that the release of human data as early as later this year could bring the company and the product to a grander stage. At that point the share price may be positioned to experience gains in line with Organovo's recent moves higher, especially if the partnership or buyout talk picks up, too, but those taking a look now may be taking advantage of a ground floor opportunity before the story plays out and attracts the volume and attention that could drive the share price higher.
One to keep an eye on right now as the stock - being newly traded - and the technology is just now starting to get noticed. A potential 'buy or accumulate the dips' play.
Disclosure: Long ANTB.
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