In a Form 8-K filing for SIGA Technologies (NASDAQ:SIGA) it was disclosed that the firm received a payment of approximately $36M from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Shares of the stock were up in early trading and rising after investors got wind that on December 6, 2011, SIGA Technologies, Inc. had received the anticipated large payment.
This payment, in combination with a previously received payment of approximately $5 million, constitutes full receipt of approximately $41 million in advance payments permitted under the company's $435 million amended smallpox antiviral contract (HHSO100201100001C) with BARDA (the "Smallpox Antiviral BioShield Contract"), according to the filing.
The Project BioShield Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-276) and the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (Public Law 109-417) authorize advance payments under BioShield procurement contracts such as the Smallpox Antiviral BioShield contract. The above-referenced advance payments from BARDA provide funding to, among other things, support program management, security upgrades, purchasing of raw materials and commencing commercial manufacturing until the company is eligible to invoice the government after delivery of the first 500,000 treatment courses.
On Friday, many of the 7.7 million shares that were short began to cover and the stock rose 32.07% to close at 2.43 +0.59. Shares are still trading -83.84 % from their 52-Wk High ($ 15.66) despite being up another 6% on Monday morning. Only about 2.6 million of those shorts have closed their positions, according to preliminary estimates so additional buying pressure could see shares continue to rise.
SIGA Technologies has developed a proprietary discovery platform that can be applied to many pathogens. The company's biology-driven discovery process represents a successful paradigm change in drug development. Its proprietary technology relies on the use of high-throughput screening (HTS) and chemi-informatic capabilities to identify lead candidates. The firm's pipeline includes: ST-246, contains tecovirimat indicated for the prophylaxis, post-exposure therapeutic, therapeutic and adjuvant to vaccination for smallpox and other orthopoxviruses; ST-193 indicated for the treatment of Lassa fever virus; ST-148/ST-610 indicated for the treatment of Dengue fever.
SIGA has alliances with Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Glaxosmithkline Biologicals (NYSE:GSK), Ludwig Institute For Cancer Research, Ltd, Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS), Pecos Labs, Inc, Plexus Vaccine Inc, Saint Louis University, TransTech Pharma, Inc, and others.
Shares traded as low as $1.78 in September after a Delaware judge ordered the biotechnology company to share 50 percent of the profits from its smallpox drug with PharmAthene (NYSEMKT:PIP) for the next 10 years following a failed merger between the companies. That ruling sent SIGA shares down 43 percent to a 2-year low, while PharmAthene rose 19.5 percent before being halted on the American Stock Exchange.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.