HALO Gearing Up For A Rebound In 2013?

| December 24, 2012 | 0 Comments

Investors holding shares of biotech Halozyme Therapeutics (HALO) awoke to excellent news Friday morning.  The company announced it had entered into a worldwide collaboration and licensing agreement with Pfizer (PFE).

The deal gives Pfizer a global license to develop and market products using Halozyme’s revolutionary Enhanze drug delivery technology.  I’ll tell you all about this exciting technology in just a moment.

In exchange, HALO received an upfront payment of $8 million with the potential to earn additional fees of up to $507 million.  The biotech can also earn royalties on any future sales of drugs developed through the partnership.

As you can see, HALO soared on the news!

After closing on Thursday at $5.52, the stock opened at $6.36 Friday morning and never looked back.  It eventually closed at $7.01 for a one-day gain of 27%.

The investment by a major global drug maker clearly gave HALO a much needed shot in the arm. 

In August, the stock had hit a 52-week low of $3.82, punctuating a 70% decline from the high of $13.50 set in March.  And while HALO had bounced off the lows prior to the Pfizer deal, it was still posting a hefty 40% loss for the year.

Why was HALO struggling?

The stock had plunged after the FDA rejected an immune deficiency treatment developed by Baxter (BAX) that includes HALO’s drug-delivery enzyme rHuPH20.  Regulators are concerned rHuPH20 may have an impact on reproduction, development, and fertility.

As such, the drug is on hold until the two companies can provide pre-clinical data on rHuPH20.

No question about it, the Pfizer deal couldn’t have come at a better time for HALO.       

The deal provides renewed credibility for Halozyme’s Enhanze technology.  You see, Enhanze is based on rHuPH20, HALO’s patented recombinant human hyaluronidase enzyme.

How does rHuPH20 work?

The enzyme temporarily degrades hyaluronan, a structural component of the subcutaneous space that is just beneath the outside surface of the skin.  This temporary degradation in turn provides an opportunistic window for the improved subcutaneous delivery of injectable biologics.

Why is this so important?

By using rHuPH20, many therapeutics that could normally only be injected intravenously can now be given with a subcutaneous injection.  This change in delivery can often improve patient convenience, boost efficacy, extend the product lifecycle, and reduce cost.

The possibilities for rHuPH20 are simply mind-boggling.

And Pfizer isn’t the only major drug maker excited about its potential.

Roche (RHBBY) is currently partnered with HALO to develop subcutaneous versions of their approved drugs for breast cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and rheumatoid arthritis.  And Viropharma (VPHM) is working with HALO on a subcutaneous formulation of Cinryze, an approved treatment for hereditary angiodema.

While it remains to be seen, Friday’s rally could be just the beginning of a longer-term uptrend in HALO.  Take a closer look at this intriguing biotech for your own portfolio.

Profitably Yours,

Robert Morris

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Category: Stocks

About the Author ()

Robert Morris is the editor of Penny Stock All-Stars, an investment advisory focused on discovering small-cap and micro-cap stocks that are destined to become the market’s next Blue Chips. The Wall Street veteran and small-cap stock specialist is also a regular contributor to Penny Stock Research. Every week, Robert shares his thoughts with our readers on a variety of penny stock-related topics. In addition to Penny Stock Research, Robert also writes frequently for two other free financial e-letters, ETF Trading Research and the Dynamic Wealth Report. He’s also the editor of two highly successful and popular investment advisories, Biotech SuperTrader and China Stock Insider.

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