Although traders are taking profits today, nano cap Conatus Pharmaceuticals (CNAT -17.3%) looks like it may ride the rising tide of investor enthusiasm for hepatitis drugs led by the wildly successful launch of Gilead's (GILD +0.2%) Hep C treatment Sovaldi. Yesterday, shares popped 57% on a 19-fold surge in volume.
The company's lead product is emricasan, a orally-active caspase protease inhibitor designed to reduce the activity of enzymes the mediate inflammation and apoptosis (cell death). The company believes it has the potential to interrupt the progression of liver disease. Four Phase 2 clinical trials are underway to assess its safety and efficacy in acute-on-chronic liver failure, chronic liver failure, post-liver transplant HCV clearance with unresolved fibrosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
The company debuted almost a year ago on July 25, 2013 at $11. Prices quickly retreated closing at $9.50 on Day 1. It bottomed at $5.06 on May 14.