Thursday, 26 July 2012

Amarin’s FDA Approval! Will it Positively Impact Neptune & Acasti Valuations? Fish Oil Versus Krill Oil

Acasti Pharma
TSX V: APO
Shares Outstanding: 71.0 million
Fully Diluted: 80.1 million
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It was a much anticipated event in the biotech world and especially so in the United States as the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) today (July 26th) approved Amarin Corporation’s Vascepa, as a prescription medicine.

Vascepa, a prescription-grade omega-3 fatty acid (fish oil) pill, when taken at its highest daily dose, lowered triglyceride levels by 33% compared to a placebo. These were the results in a phase III clinical trial that enrolled patients with very high baseline levels (greater than 500 mg/dl) of blood fat.

Vascepa also did not cause a significant increase in LDL, or "bad" cholesterol.

This news is potentially significant for Neptune and Acasti.

Acasti’s pharma grade drug candidate Capre, may very well be the next omega-3 up-and-comer. It is currently in the midst of its phase II study to evaluate Capre’s ability to lower triglycerides (or hypertriglyceridemia). Open label results are expected by the end of this year.

In a Bloomberg note following the FDA – Amarin news, the following point was raised, “Other companies focused on omega-3 fatty acid products include closely held Omthera with Epanova and Neptune Technologies & Bioressources, which has NKO”.

Amarin’s stock was halted today at a price of $15.31 / share, giving it a market cap of just over $2 billion. Acasti Pharma on the other hand closed the day at $2.05 giving it a market cap of approximately $150 million.

GlaxoSmithKline currently sells a prescription grade fish oil pill, called Lovaza, which generates about $1 billion in annual sales.