Array Shares Climb After Asthma Drug Shows Positive Phase 2 Results

7/23/13Follow @MichaelXBD

Array Biopharma’s stock price jumped more than 15 percent this morning, following the company’s announcement that an oral treatment for asthma it is developing showed positive results in a Phase 2 trial.

Boulder, CO-based Array (NASDAQ: ARRY) is developing ARRY-502 as a treatment for mild-to-moderate persistent asthma. About 12 million patients in the U.S. suffer from that type of asthma.

Array hopes ARRY-502 can become the next successful oral treatment for asthma, CEO Ron Squarer said during a conference call about the results. The market is substantial, and it has been 15 years since the FDA last approved an oral non-steroidal drug for asthma. That drug was montelukast (Singulair), which is sold by Merck (NYSE: MRK) and brought in about $5.5 billion in annual sales in 2011. Merck’s patent on montelukast expired last year.

Array’s proof-of-concept study enrolled 184 patients with mild-to-moderate persistent allergic asthma. Some received two 200mg doses of ARRY-502 every day for four weeks and showed statistically significant improvement in lung function tests when compared to patients receiving a placebo.

Array plans to keep developing the drug and is looking for a development partner. Squarer said Array has discussed partnerships with several companies but declined to say which ones or when he expected an agreement to be finalized.

Array is best known for developing cancer drugs, and an analyst report from JP Morgan said it was an encouraging sign the company might be able to develop a non-cancer drug.

“We are not surprised that shares are reacting well pre-market to this encouraging result given that this is a non-core asset that was not previously contributing much (if any) value to the story, in our view, and it’s also one that’s obviously targeting a very large indication,” the report said. The analysts classified Array’s stock as overweight.

Michael Davidson is the editor of Xconomy Boulder/Denver. He covers startups, venture capital, clean tech, energy, aerospace, telecoms, and whatever else happens above 5,280 feet. Contact him at mdavidson@xconomy.com. Follow @MichaelXBD

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