Pulmatrix, Inc. (PULM - Free Report) announced that it has inked a licensing and development agreement with the Lung Cancer Initiative at Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) . The agreement grants the Lung Cancer Initiative an option to gain rights to Pulmatrix’s portfolio of narrow spectrum kinase inhibitors, including an early-stage candidate PUR1800. These candidates are intended to be developed for lung cancer interception.
Per the terms of the agreement, Pulmatrix will receive $7.2 million in upfront payment and is eligible to receive additional $2 million in milestone payments on completion of an early-stage clinical study on PUR1800. The study is expected to be completed by 2020-end. Moreover, if the Lung Cancer Initiative exercises its option to gain rights to the portfolio of narrow spectrum kinase inhibitors, Pulmatrix will be eligible to receive $91 million in development and commercial milestones. The company will also be eligible to receive royalty payments.
Shares of Pulmatrix surged 88.4%, following the deal announcement. This is because the deal is expected to boost its cash resources, which will likely support future clinical activities. On its third-quarter earnings call, the company had stated that it lacks sufficient funds to support clinical activities for any of its pipeline candidates beyond third-quarter 2020. Shares of the company have declined 50.7% in the past year against the industry’s increase of 3.8%.
Pulmatrix is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, which is focused on developing inhaled therapies for treating serious pulmonary disease using its patented iSPERSE technology.
We note that the company had in-licensed a portfolio of novel drug candidates consisting of kinase inhibitors from a wholly owned subsidiary of J&J in 2017. The company stated in its press release that it has unlocked clinical potential of PUR1800 using its iSPERSE technology. The candidate is intended to be developed for treating acute exacerbations in patients with COPD and is currently being evaluated in a phase Ib study.
Apart from PUR1800, the company has other pipeline candidates using iSPERSE technology in clinical development, which includes Pulmazole. An inhaled formulation of the anti-fungal drug itraconazole, Pulmazole is the most advanced candidate, which is being developed in a phase II study for treating allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis in patients with asthma.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Pulmatrix currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
A couple of other top-ranked stocks from the biotech sector include Coherus BioSciences, Inc. (CHRS - Free Report) and Agenus Inc. (AGEN - Free Report) , both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Coherus’ earnings estimates increased from $1.25 to $1.67 for 2020 over the past 60 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters, the average beat being 149.94%. Shares of the company have gained 111.3% in the past year.
Agenus’ loss estimates have narrowed from $1.63 to $1.41 for 2020 over the past 60 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in two of the trailing four quarters, the average beat being 23.79%. Share price of the company has increased 36.1% in the past year.
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