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Portola Prices Public Offering

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Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (PTLA - Free Report) announced the pricing of its public offering of common stock. The company is looking to issue 6,366,513 shares of its common stock at $23.75 per share.

The underwriters have been granted an option to purchase an additional 954,976 shares, with a 30-day window. The offering is expected to be completed on Oct 22, 2013.

Portola intends to use the funds for further development of its three lead candidates, Betrixaban, PRT2070 and Andexanet alfa (PRT4445).

We note that Portola has been putting in substantial efforts to develop its pipeline. In Oct 2013, the company announced encouraging data from a phase II proof-of-concept study on Andexanet alfa, a Factor Xa inhibitor. The candidate aims to reverse the Factor Xa inhibitor’s anticoagulant activity in patients suffering from uncontrolled bleeding or undergoing emergency surgery.

Results from the study showed that the use of intravenous PRT4445 420 mg bolus dose resulted in around 92% reversal of the anticoagulant activity of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company / Pfizer Inc.’s (BMY - Free Report) / (PFE - Free Report) Eliquis in two minutes. At the conclusion of a two-hour infusion, PRT4445 resulted in around 91% reversal of the anticoagulant activity of Eliquis. No serious side effects or premature termination of the treatment with PRT4445 has been observed so far in the ongoing safety follow-up of this study.

We remind investors that in Nov 2012, Portola entered into an agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer to evaluate PRT4445 in combination with Eliquis.

In Oct 2013, the company announced that it has started a phase I/II proof-of-concept study on its oral dual spleen tyrosine kinase and janus kinase inhibitor candidate, PRT2070.

PRT2070 is being evaluated for treating patients suffering from genetically-defined hematologic cancers and patients who have not responded to prior therapy due to relapse or acquired mutations. Furthermore, Betrixaban is being evaluated as a preventive treatment for venous thromboembolism (a type of thrombosis) in acute medically ill patients for up to 35 days.

Portola at present carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Companies that currently look well positioned include Actelion Ltd. with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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