The share price of Protalix Biotherapeutics Inc. (NYSE MKT:PLX; TASE: PLX) plunged 7.6% yesterday to its lowest point in five years, The share price at the end of trading was $2.45, reflecting a $227 million market cap, a 52% decline in one year.
Misfortunes never come singly: two days ago, after the end of trading, it was learned that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved for marketing a competing drug for Protalix's flagship product. Yesterday, it was reported that another company had made progress in developing a drug in competition with another Protalix product (assuming that either of them ever reaches the market).
Competitor jumps 20%
Protalix has developed technology for producing human proteins in plant cells. The company has a drug approved for marketing that treats Gaucher's disease, but this drug is expected to encounter competition soon from a new drug with FDA marketing approval produced by Sanofi.
At the same time, Protalix is developing a drug for treatment of Fabry's disease, a rare genetic condition. This drug is in Phase II clinical trials. Initial trial results are scheduled for publication by year-end, and full results are slated for the first half of 2015. Yesterday, a US company named Amicus Therapeutics published positive results from a Phase II clinical trial it is conducting for a drug it is developing for treatment of the same disease. The Amicus share responded with a 20.4% leap in Nasdaq trading on a huge turnover to a price reflecting a $433 million market cap.
Protalix is dual-listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE). David Aviezer, its CEO, recently announced his intention to resign his position. Protalix's chairman is former Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) CEO Shlomo Yanai, who took up his position at Protalix a few weeks ago. Protalix has a few other drugs in development, which are due to enter advanced clinical trials in the next year or two.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 21, 2014
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