Editors' Note: This article covers one or more micro-cap stocks. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.
In this article, I will feature one biotech stock that has seen intensive insider buying during the last 30 days. Intensive insider buying can be defined by the following three criteria:
- The stock is purchased by three or more insiders within one month.
- The stock is sold by no insiders in the month of intensive purchasing.
- At least two purchasers increased their holdings by more than 10%.
Acasti Pharma (ACST) focuses on the research, development, and commercialization of new therapies for abnormalities in blood lipids, and the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disorders.
Insider buying during the last 30 days
Here is a table of Acasti's insider-trading activity during the last 30 days by insider.
|Name||Title||Trade Date||Shares Purchased||Current Ownership||Increase In Shares|
|André Godin||Senior Officer||Dec 3||10,000||300,514 shares||+3.4%|
|Henri Harland||Director||Dec 3||30,000||812,042 shares||+3.8%|
|Xavier Harland||CFO||Dec 3||30,000||229,630 shares||+15.0%|
|Pierre Lemieux||COO||Dec 3||20,000||45,000 shares||+80.0%|
|Neptune Technologies & Bioresources (NEPT)||10% Owner||Dec 3||592,500||51,942,183 shares||+1.2%|
|John Ripplinger||Senior Officer||Dec 3||10,000||10,000 shares||from 0 to 10,000|
|Michel Timperio||Senior Officer||Dec 3||10,000||167,217 shares||+6.4%|
There have been 702,500 shares purchased by insiders during the last 30 days. The shares were purchased pursuant to a public offering.
Insider buying by calendar month
Here is a table of Acasti's insider-trading activity by calendar month.
|Month||Insider buying / shares||Insider selling / shares|
There have been 702,500 shares purchased and there have been 1,432,910 shares sold by insiders this year. The month of December has seen all of the insider buying.
Acasti reported the fiscal 2014 second-quarter, which ended August 31, financial results on October 15 with the following highlights:
|Net loss||$3.2 million|
On December 3, Acasti closed a $20.8 million financing.
Acasti estimates that the net proceeds from the December offering will be approximately $20.8 million, after deducting the underwriting commissions and other offering expenses. Acasti intends to allocate the net proceeds from the offering as follows:
- Approximately $1 million to complete its current Phase II double blind clinical trial (TRIFECTA).
- Approximately $2 million to initiate and complete its proposed pharmacokinetic trial of CaPre in the United States.
- Approximately $8 million to initiate and complete a Phase III clinical trial to investigate the safety and efficacy profile of CaPre in a patient population with very high triglycerides (>500 mg/dL).
- Approximately $5 million to initiate and complete its proposed DART (developmental and reproductive toxicology) and CARCINO (carcinogenicity testings) nonclinical studies.
- The balance for general corporate and other working capital purposes.
Pipeline and upcoming milestones
Acasti has one drug candidate and one commercial product in its pipeline.
CaPre, currently Acasti's only prescription drug candidate, is a highly purified omega-3 phospholipid concentrate derived from krill oil and is being developed to help prevent and treat hypertriglyceridemia, which is a condition characterized by abnormally high levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream.
Onemia is Acasti's sole commercialized product and has been marketed in the United States since 2011 as a "medical food".
Acasti expects completion of the TRIFECTA trial in the first half of calendar 2014.
Acasti's competitors include GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which currently markets Lovaza, a prescription omega-3 for patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia, Abbott Laboratories (ABT), which currently markets Tricor and Trilipix (both fibrates) and Niaspan (niacin) for treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia, and Amarin (AMRN), which currently markets Vascepa, an ethyl-ester form of EPA, for the treatment of patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia. Here is a table comparing these companies.
Acasti's CaPre is not yet approved by FDA.
Here is a table of these competitors' insider-trading activities this year.
|Company||Insider buying / shares||Insider selling / shares|
Amarin has also seen intensive insider buying during the last 30 days.
There have been seven different insiders buying Acasti and there have not been any insiders selling Acasti during the last 30 days. Three of these seven insiders increased their holdings by more than 10%.
The next catalyst for Acasti is anticipated in the first half of 2014. I have a long position in Acasti and Amarin currently.