Arrowhead Research Corp (ARWR) Up Big After Drug Shows Improvement for 78% of Chimpanzees with Hepatitis B

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Arrowhead Research Corp (NASDAQ:ARWR) shares are soaring in early trading this morning, after the company announced great news concerning their drug, ARC-520. ARC-520 is a treatment for the Hepatitis B virus, a virus that affects the liver and causes acute and chronic infections in sufferers.

Arrowhead Research Corp (NASDAQ:ARWR) unveiled at HEP DART 2015 that ARC-520 has shown to be very effective on treating chimpanzees with Hepatitis B. In fact, the drug, when used alongside nucleoside analags, showed signs of immune reactivation in 7 out of 9 treated chimps (78%).

Arrowhead Research Corp (NASDAQ:ARWR) CEO Christopher Anzalone, Ph.D. said, “The hepatitis B virus causes infected cells to produce several proteins that suppress the host immune system, and, therefore, enable chronic viral infection by removing immune control. Our goal with ARC-520 is to reduce expression of those proteins and thereby enable reconstitution of the immune system. We now have shown that ARC-520 can do that, and not just in 1 or 2 infected chimps, but in 7 of the 9 chimps we treated, and this is a big deal.”

“ARC-520 deeply reduces HBV proteins and we believe the elevations in T-cell responsive serum cytokines observed in this study represent a strong proof of principle that ARC-520 can begin the process of immune reconstitution that many believe can lead to functional cure,” he continued. “These data are particularly encouraging when combined with our recent human data. Our Phase 2a clinical trial, which we reported at AASLD last month, showed that ARC-520 can dramatically reduce s-antigen, e-antigen, and core-related antigen in humans after a single dose. During the ongoing Phase 2b clinical trials, we are studying ARC-520 as monotherapy as well as in combination with other agents with the goal of identifying a regimen that leads to consistent functional cures.”

The stock is up 11.73% or $0.65 following the news, hitting $6.19 per share. About 214,658 shares traded hands. ARWR has declined 20.17% since May 4, 2015 and is downtrending. It has underperformed the S&P500 by 17.39%.

The institutional sentiment increased to 1.31 in Q2 2015. It’s up 0.44, from 0.87 in 2015Q1. The ratio is positive, as 14 funds sold all their Arrowhead Research Corp shares they owned while 22 reduced their positions. 22 funds bought stakes while 25 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 26.88 million shares which is 10.71% less than the previous share count of 30.10 million in 2015Q1.

Rtw Investments Llc holds 5.33% of its total portfolio in Arrowhead Research Corp, equating to 2.56 million shares. Awm Investment Company Inc. owns 1.05 million shares representing 1.07% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Opus Point Partners Management Llc has 0.46% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 82,133 shares. The Israel-based Sphera Funds Management Ltd. has a total of 0.33% of their portfolio invested in the stock. Geduld E E, a New York-based fund reported 55,000 shares owned.

Arrowhead Research Corporation develops drugs to treat intractable diseases by silencing the genes that cause them. The company has a market cap of $368.31 million. Using the broadest portfolio of RNA chemistries and efficient modes of delivery, the Company’s therapies trigger the RNA interference mechanism to induce rapid, deep and durable knockdown of target genes. It currently has negative earnings. The Company’s drug candidate in clinical development is ARC-520, which is designed to treat chronic hepatitis B infection by inhibiting the production of all HBV gene products.

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