Last week we wondered whether or not shares of Keryx Pharmaceuticals (KERX) were heading for the dollar mark. This week, it's a whole new ballgame as a Monday morning press release issued by Keryx informed investors that Japanese partner, Japan Tobacco Inc. (JAPAF.PK) and Torii Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Torii), had announced positive top line results of a Phase III trial for Zerenex in the treatment of hyperphosphatemia in end-stage renal disease patients on hemodialysis.
As a result of the news KERX shares were up by more than 25% on volume of well more than double the daily norm - all before lunch time on Monday.
Keryx opened the month on a severe downturn after Phase III trials for the cancer treatment Perifisone failed. With Perifisone out of the picture, at least for the time beings, investors looked to Zerenex as the next key catalyst that could potentially bring significant value to the KERX share price and to the company's longer term future.
Results in the United States are not due until later this year, but the success in Japan certainly sparked speculation and confidence that a repeat of the Japanese positive results could be forthcoming on the home front, too.
The news may not have come at a better time for Keryx.
GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) buyout offer of Human Genome Sciences (HGSI) last week also highlights the quickly emerging trend of buyouts in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors. Human Genome, Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN) and Illumina Inc. (ILMN) have all rejected initial buyout offers over recent weeks and Keryx, now with a solid-looking late stage pipeline candidate making news, could be heating up right in the midst of they buyout mood.
At the current prices, Keryx is also selling at a more than 50 percent discount of where it was just over a month ago, although the Perifisone failure supported the price drop.
Positive developments in Japan have reinvigorated life into the Keryx story, and as the buyout mood heats up in the sector, KERX is going to again be a stock to watch.
Disclosure: No position.