Pipeline Progress at Prothena

Zacks Equity Research

Prothena Corporation (PRTA) has initiated a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase I trial on its monoclonal antibody candidate, PRX002.

PRX002 is being evaluated for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. The phase I trial will assess PRX002 for safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and immunogenicity.

The initiation of the trial has led to a $15 million milestone payment from Roche (RHHBY) to Prothena.

We remind investors that both the companies have entered into a worldwide collaboration agreement in Dec 2013. As per the agreement, both the companies will collaborate to develop and commercialize antibodies that target alpha-synuclein, including Prothena's PRX002.

Prothena has earned a total of $45 million through its worldwide PRX002 collaboration with Roche. The payment also includes the current milestone payment.

In addition, Prothena is also entitled for additional payments of up to $380 million upon achievement of development, regulatory and sales milestones along with an additional $175 million in milestone payments for sales outside the U.S. The total payments, both upfront and milestones, may amount up to $600 million on a global basis.

The agreement also provides Prothena with an option to co-promote PRX002 in the U.S. Both the companies have agreed to share all development and commercialization costs on a 70/30 basis (70% Roche and 30% Prothena) in the U.S. However, outside the U.S., Roche will be solely responsible for developing and commercializing PRX002 and pay Prothena up to double-digit royalties on net sales.

Moreover, Roche and Prothena will initiate a research collaboration focusing on optimizing early stage antibodies targeting alpha-synuclein. This research collaboration will include incorporation of Roche's proprietary Brain Shuttle(TM) technology to increase delivery of therapeutic antibodies to the brain.

Roche currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) while Prothena carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now, other stocks like Forest Laboratories (FRX) and Shire (SHPG) look attractive in the healthcare sector, each with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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