Snippet roundup: Penumbra floats, Santen buys and Cladribine returns


Welcome to your weekly roundup of EP Vantage’s snippets – short takes on smaller news items.

This week, 18-29 July 2016, we had thoughts on the following: Penumbra shines in IPO class of 2015; Three’s a trend: Santen buys MIGS maker InnFocus; Cladribine’s return from the dead; Market refuses to squint hard enough to see Brainstorm benefit

Penumbra shines in IPO class of 2015

29 July 2016

Penumbra’s share price rose 11% in two days after it reported that its next-generation stent retriever, the Penumbra 3D Revascularisation Device, was non-inferior to its existing Penumbra system. The devices are used to remove blood clots to prevent stroke. Penumbra’s stock is up 128% since it floated last year – a phenomenal performance, particularly compared with the other medtech companies that carried out large IPOs in 2015. Penumbra plans to file the 3D device for US approval by the end of this year. If it gets the green light it will go up against devices including Medtronic’s Solitaire and Stryker’s Trevo.

Three’s a trend: Santen buys MIGS maker InnFocus

20 July 2016

In spending $225m on InnFocus, maker of the MircroShunt minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) device, Santen Pharmaceutical has again shown pharma’s growing interest in these technologies – perhaps owing to the muted trial results seen with glaucoma drugs in development. Over the past year Novartis bought Transcend Medical and Allergan acquired AqueSys, but at least three other MIGS makers are still available should other pharma groups wish to swoop.

Cladribine’s return from the dead

19 July 2016

Merck KGaA’s persistence with cladribine as a multiple sclerosis pill is nothing short of remarkable, given that it was rejected by regulators five years ago. Moreover, at one time it had been forecast to be the first oral drug approved to treat the degenerative condition. However, Gilenya took that title, and since then Sanofi’s Aubagio and Biogen’s Tecfidera have both been launched. Consensus forecasts from EvaluatePharma show cladribine sales of $17m in 2022, but as an EU approval decision awaits early next year that number might be subject to some upgrades in coming months.

Market refuses to squint hard enough to see Brainstorm benefit

19 July 2016

The Israeli microcap biotech company Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics worked hard yesterday to convince the market of the logic of moving ahead with its autologous cell therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The project, NurOwn Program one, showed good tolerability in a 48-patient trial, plus promising responder numbers versus placebo at 2 weeks, using a generous statistical method, though an added subgroup analysis was needed to show slowing in disease progression. Investors were unconvinced, sending the stock down 9%. ALS is a highly intractable disease, so any efficacy hint might be seen as promising, and NurOwn is one of a handful of cell therapies in clinical trials. Brainstorm’s problem now is raising cash for a longer study.

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