By Sy Mukherjee
January 10, 2019

Good afternoon, readers.

Shares of Ireland-based biopharma Amarin Corporation spiked more than 20% in Thursday trading—a jump that adds to the “fish oil pill” company’s bullish run since the beginning of the JPMorgan Healthcare conference on Monday. Amarin stock is up 45% in the past five days.

Two separate, and related, factors are likely driving the trend: Impressive presentations by Amarin CEO John Thero during investor presentations at the JPM conference (I interviewed Thero on Monday evening, and he projected the sort of product confidence that often proves catnip to the shareholder crowd); and water cooler gossip on Thursday that a pharma giant like Pfizer may be interested in snapping up the approximately $6 billion market cap company.

As we’ve previously reported, Amarin made waves—and elicited controversy—this past November when it released eye-popping heart benefit results for its prescription strength fish oil drug Vascepa. According to results of the REDUCE-IT study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Vascepa use slashed the risk of deadly cardiovascular events like stroke and heart attack for certain patients by 25% on top of cholesterol-checking medications like statins.

Some critics noted concerns with Amarin’s study design and questioned the nature of the placebo used in the trial. Here’s what Thero had to say about that: “Any time you have a profound effect like this, it’s going to be critically approached. And that’s a good thing. But we believe the experts who reviewed this study are satisfied and agree the results are significant.”

That argument—as well as Thero’s point that non-prescription, over-the-counter fish oil supplements (so-called Omega-3 mixtures) have received an increasing amount of scrutiny over efficacy—seems to have swayed investors in recent days.

So what’s next for Amarin? “The first step here is, we really do need to get the Vascepa drug label expanded to include the cardiovascular risk reduction, and then educate the physicians on those effects; after that, we will work on educating consumers.”

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


You May Like