It would make sense if you believe the stock will make a huge move in the next two weeks. There is more liquidity in the $25's compared to the $24's, $23's, etc.
Here's the end:
Let me just caution readers that PBT2 may also fail to show a reduction in amyloid burden, in which case we expect Prana's stock to take a big hit. But having reviewed the preclinical and early clinical results to date, we think this trial has a better chance of succeeding than failing.
TLSR: What is it about PBT2 that makes it potentially efficacious in Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases?
GZ: The common pathogenesis of these diseases is protein misfolding. The misfolding is facilitated and enhanced by metals—zinc and copper, in particular. The physiologic mechanisms that remove zinc and copper, which are released and exist very transiently in the synapse during neurotransmission, just don't work as well as we age. In younger people, the metals are immediately bound and transported back to their intracellular storage sites. If they stay longer in the synapse—that space between nerve cells—they can interact with those proteins and aggregate. As disease progresses, these metal-binding proteins, or metalloproteins, form plaques, which cause dysfunction in neurotransmission and ultimately an inflammatory response that kills the affected and surrounding neurons. That's when patients begin to get overt symptoms.
In Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases, the misfolded proteins are beta-amyloid and mutant huntingtin protein, respectively. PBT2 has a chaperone-type activity that appears to strip zinc and copper from these metalloproteins, then transports them across the neuronal cell membrane and delivers them to intracellular proteins, where the metals are normally stored. In animal models, PBT2 has been shown to reduce the amyloid burden in the brain, meaning that the amount of amyloid plaques is reduced. This is the primary endpoint in the ongoing Alzheimer's disease trial, called IMAGINE, that is expected to read out before the end of March.
Here's where it may get very exciting. If PBT2 reduces the amyloid burden in Alzheimer's disease patients after a year of treatment, and improves cognitive function, then it will be the only drug candidate to have shown this. In our view, the risk-reward ratio for PBT2 is tremendous.
Let me just caution readers that PBT2 may also fail to show a reduction in amyloid burden, in which case we expect Prana's
The same cognitive function showed a statistically significant improvement with PBT2 in an earlier, phase 2a AD trial, and it is also a secondary endpoint in an ongoing AD trial that's going to read out before the end of March, according to the company's guidance. If this same secondary endpoint is met in the phase 2b trial, that would be confidence building, to say the least.
TLSR: The results of the high dose of 250 mg versus the low dose of 100 mg are delineated in the phase 2a PBT2 trail. Is the efficacy of the high-dose arm strong compared to the low-dose arm?
GZ: That's right. Also, in that regard, a very small substudy was performed, in which the brains of four patients in both PBT2 trial arms were imaged. Just as in Alzheimer's disease, the brain shrinks in Huntington's disease. There was some evidence that brain atrophy was reduced in the HD patients taking PBT2. Understand that this was a trend toward conservation of brain volume with PBT2, and was not statistically significant because of the small patient population. But it was an exciting result, nevertheless. cont...
TLSR: Could you talk about Prana Biotechnology Ltd. (PBT:ASX), which you've just initiated on?
GZ: Certainly. Prana has a compound called PBT2 in clinical trials. On Feb. 18, the company announced results of its phase 2a trial in Huntington's disease (HD). The primary endpoint in this randomized, double-blind study was the safety and tolerability of PBT2 in patients with HD. The exact primary endpoint was the frequency of adverse events over 26 weeks, and it turned out that the compound met that endpoint. This was not surprising, because the drug had been safely administered to Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients in a previous phase 2a trial.
Here's where things get interesting. I cautioned investors not to overinterpret and expect statistically significant data on efficacy from phase 2 trials at the start of this interview. This trial, called Reach2HD, was first and foremost a phase 2a safety trial, since PBT2 had never before been given to HD patients. A panel of secondary endpoints—a long list actually—were examined with no expectation of finding statistically significant efficacy results. Recall what I said earlier about looking for trends, not statistical significance. Prana was looking for trends in cognitive function that could then be fashioned into a confirmatory phase 2b trial that would increase the likelihood of showing a clinically significant benefit—a meaningful improvement in cognitive function.
A surprising thing was discovered in this phase 2a trial. One of the cognitive measures, specifically the Trail Making Test Part B, demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in performance versus placebo at both 12 and 26 weeks. This test is an assessment of executive function—a patient's capacity to plan and organize things and to multitask, which is weakened early on in both HD and AD. cont...
For those of you who don't follow options very closely, here's what this means for today:
A very negative implied borrow rate in PRAN is a powerful indication that the shares were heavily shorted. You see negative implied borrow rates when a stock becomes "hard to borrow". Usually that's because the stock is so heavily shorted, there are no shares left to borrow unless you are willing to pay an exceptionally high interest rate. When a stock is heavily shorted, short sellers are at risk of a major move to the upside as they are forced to cover their short positions. The way you cover a short position is by buying. That buying pressure from the shorts running for cover causes further gains. It's called a short squeeze.
We have a couple of catalysts today for this possible short squeeze: the new Lindquist release and the new report that states that Alzheimer's could be the #3 killer disease in the U.S.
MLV target is $11 and Wainwright is $33. The mean is $22. This isn't Yahoo's target, they're reporting the two brokerages targets.
I think an interesting point is that Dr. Kempler mentioned that most of the interest is in the secondary cognitive endpoints in the trial. That says to me that his excitement isn't just meeting the primary endpoint.
This is from their Form 6K released today (page 21). Not sure why they say 1st quarter instead of March, but it could be released very soon!
It's a bit confusing, but the report was from before the HD results but the headline of "beats expectations" was from after the HD results.
If people would have paid attention to this message board they could have known about this a few days ago. The link to the original research report has been on the Prana's website for a few days where the headline reads that the HD results beat expectations. In the report it says that the price target of $20.50 was assuming that HD results would suck and if they don't the price target was in the $30's. Obviously (although not to some), the results didn't suck.
I agree, Walter Lewis sounds made up. I guess people won't subscribe if they could just google the real name and find out that they're talking about Prana.