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Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ANTH) Is One Step Closer To A Recovery

Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ANTH) Is One Step Closer To A Recovery
Written by
Chris Sandburg
Published on
October 5, 2017
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Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ANTH) is one of those slow-burning stocks that has long-term potential but that can be frustrating to hold. It is one we covered back in June here and, as part of that coverage, we highlighted it as being one to keep an eye based on a very particular event.The company just released some news that relates to said event and has picked up a bit of strength on the back the announcement. Here is what we learned and how it fits into our long-term thesis for the stock. ANTH Daily ChartSo, for those new to this one, Anthera is a biotechnology company that has developed what it calls Sollpura – a development stage drug designed to treat patients suffering from exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) due to cystic fibrosis. EPI is a condition that occurs when the pancreas fails to provide the necessary amount of digestive enzymes. Due to a lack of these enzymes, people with EPI cannot properly digest the nutrients in food such as fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Nearly 90% of cystic fibrosis sufferers also suffer from EPI because the thick mucus in their pancreas blocks pancreatic enzymes from entering the small intestine.There is a current and effective standard of care treatment available to these patients and it is basically a pancreatic enzyme booster. However, the pancreatic enzymes that form the basis of the drug are derived from pigs, which brings with it some severely limiting religious factors.With its Sollpura asset, Anthera has been able to derive a pancreatic enzyme booster from human pancreatic enzymes and the company hopes to offer an alternative, an alternative that aligns with religious preference, to the patient's that are unable to or don't want to be treated with pig-derived drugs.It makes sense, but the development pathway to date hasn't been particularly smooth. The drug failed a phase 3 trial in this population and this failure caused Anthera to essentially collapse when it hit press.However, as we pointed out when we set up our bull thesis on the stock, it looked as though the failure was due to mistakes in the trial protocol (and in particular, dosing regimen conditions) as opposed to the drug itself.So, the company set up a new trial designed to overcome the protocol errors and it is this trial on which our long-term thesis rests. If the new trial is able to demonstrate that the drug does work, markets are going to quickly close the gap on the previous decline and Anthera should be able to use it to underpin what would be a strong New Drug Application (NDA) in a population with a large unmet need.So what did latest news tell us?Well, we know that the trial is 50% screened, which means it's on track for completion as initially planned. This means that the company should be on track to put out data from the study as early as the fourth quarter of this year, but more likely during the first quarter of next.The opportunity here, then, is rooted in picking up an exposure to Anthera before the topline data hits press.There is a risk, of course, as is always the case with these sorts of binary events, and that is that the data falls in line with that collected as part of the previously failed trial and the study misses its endpoint. It's this risk, however, that is holding the company at current prices, which we see as low enough to justify taking on a position in anticipation of a large reward as and when the numbers hit press.As noted, the period to watch is late 2017 early 2018.Check out our previous coverage of this one here.We will be updating our subscribers as soon as we know more. For the latest updates on ANTH, sign up below!Image courtesy of GreenFlames09 via FlickrDisclosure: We have no position in ANTH and have not been compensated for this article.

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