Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc (CNAT) Stock Jumps 16% on FDA Fast Track Designation for Liver Cirrhosis Treatment

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Shares of Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CNAT) are up huge in morning trading after it has been announced that the company has been granted Fast Track designation for their drug emricasan by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Emricasan is a drug used to treat liver cirrhosis caused by nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

This is great news for Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CNAT), as well as their investors. Fast Track designation allows them to have more access to the FDA, which allows them to better facilitate the development of the drug.

“The data from our recently completed Portal Hypertension trial, showing clinically meaningful reductions in hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) in patients with severe portal hypertension after only one month of treatment with emricasan, were a key component of our Fast Track submission,” said Conatus (CNAT) co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer Steven J. Mento, Ph.D. “The Fast Track designation formalizes the recognition of emricasans potential to address a significant unmet medical need, but we believe its real importance is in the opportunity for even closer interactions with the FDA as we pursue the most efficient pathway to provide a potentially disease-modifying treatment to patients with NASH cirrhosis.”

The stock is up 16.87% or $0.27 following the news, hitting $1.87 per share. About 424,547 shares traded hands. CNAT has declined 68.69% since June 29, 2015 and is downtrending. It has underperformed the S&P500 by 60.97%.

From a total of 3 analysts covering Conatus Pharma (NASDAQ:CNAT) stock, 3 rate it a “Buy”, 0 a “Sell”, and 0 a “Hold”. This means that 100% of the ratings are positive. The highest target price is $15.0 while the lowest target price is $6. The mean of all analyst targets is $10 which is 434.76% above today’s ($1.87) stock price. Conatus Pharma was the topic of 3 analyst reports since September 22, 2015 according to the firm StockzIntelligence Inc. Stifel Nicolaus maintained shares on November 5 with a “Buy” rating.

The institutional sentiment increased to 1.82 in Q2 2015. It’s up 0.42, from 1.4 in 2015Q2. The ratio is positive, as 3 funds sold all their Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc shares they owned while 8 reduced their positions. 7 funds bought stakes while 13 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 11.38 million shares which is 71.07% more than the previous share count of 6.65 million in 2015Q2.

Mpm Asset Management Llc holds 0.82% of its total portfolio in Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc, equating to 1.19 million shares. Iguana Healthcare Management Llc owns 300,000 shares representing 0.53% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Healthcor Management L.P. has 0.25% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 1.01 million shares. The Connecticut-based Ellington Management Group Llc has a total of 0.04% of their portfolio invested in the stock. Nine Chapters Capital Management Llc, a New Jersey-based fund reported 97,700 shares owned.

Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a biotechnology firm focused on the development and commercialization of medicines to treat liver disease. The company has a market cap of $38.08 million. The Company’s lead compound, emricasan, is an orally active pan-caspase protease inhibitor designed to reduce the activity of human caspases, which are enzymes that mediate inflammation and apoptosis. It currently has negative earnings.