December 29, 2016: Sell Conatus Pharmaceuticals for a monster 23.02% gain in just 3 trading days. Congratulations if you were able to make money on the trade.
December 26, 2016: Biotechnology firm Conatus Pharmaceuticals gets a price target upgrade after news of deal with Novartis. JMP Securities raised the price target for Conatus Pharmaceuticals to $10 from $6. JMP reiterates their Outperform rating on Conatus.
December 20, 2016: Rodman & Renshaw, Inc/H.C. Wainwright cut their price target from $18 to $9 but reiterates their Buy rating on Conatus citing the exclusive global license and collaboration agreement with Novartis covering emricasan, across all indications, either as a single-agent or in potential combination therapies.
December 19, 2016: Conatus Pharmaceuticals entered into an exclusive option, collaboration and license agreement for the global development and commercialization of its first-in-class, orally active pan-caspase inhibitor emricasan with Novartis. Under the terms of the agreement with Novartis, Conatus will receive $50 million upfront and is eligible to receive $7 million following the exercise of the license option. Conatus can borrow up to $15 million in the form of convertible promissory notes under an investment agreement with Novartis.
Conatus is eligible to receive significant payments if certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones are met. Furthermore, Conatus is eligible to receive tiered double-digit royalties on emricasan single agent sales and tiered single to double-digit royalties on sales of combination products containing emricasan. Conatus has the option to co-commercialize emricasan in the United States, including combination therapies, on a cost-sharing and revenue-sharing basis instead of U.S. royalties and with reduced ex-U.S. royalties. Conatus retains limited rights to develop other pan-caspase inhibitors.
Also, Novartis will pay 50% of Conatus Phase 2b emricasan development costs after the option exercise, including the planned ENCORE-LF trial in decompensated NASH cirrhosis which, under the current development plan consistent with recent regulatory agency recommendations, will be conducted as Phase 2b rather than Phase 2b/3. Phase 2b emricasan development costs also encompass the ongoing ENCORE-PH trial in primarily compensated NASH cirrhosis, POLT-HCV-SVR trial in post-transplant HCV fibrosis and cirrhosis, and ENCORE-NF trial in NASH fibrosis. Novartis will assume full responsibility for emricasans Phase 3 development and all combination product development.
The CEO said, “We believe Novartis is ideally suited to collaborate with Conatus in the further development of emricasan for chronic liver diseases. This collaboration validates the Conatus emphasis on the initial development of emricasan as a single agent treatment for NASH cirrhosis in both compensated and decompensated patients, and sets the stage for simultaneous development of oral combination therapies for the treatment of NASH fibrosis including emricasan and one of the Novartis internal FXR (Farnesoid X receptor) agonists in clinical development. Their strong commitment to and expertise in liver disease and a proven record of success in drug development provide our best opportunity to deliver these potentially groundbreaking new therapies to chronic liver disease patients with high unmet medical need. For Conatus, the near-term infusion of capital and Phase 2b cost-sharing allows us to fund ongoing operations through 2019. Also, with the Novartis commitment to fund Phase 3 single agent emricasan development and all combination development activities, the resources are in place to complete emricasan development both as a single agent for NASH cirrhosis and as a single agent or part of a combination therapy for NASH fibrosis. The option to co-commercialize in the United States preserves future flexibility for Conatus, and the ability to continue pursuing independent development of other compounds affords us the opportunity to build a portfolio of potential products to drive further long-term value for our shareholders.”
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Conatus is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of novel medicines to treat liver disease.