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Catalyst Pharma Raises Funds

Zacks Equity Research

Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners Inc. (CPRX) recently completed a direct offering of 8.8 million shares of its common stock. The company raised $15.1 million by offering the shares at $1.72 per share.

Catalyst Pharma intends to use the funds for developing Firdapse and starting new studies on another candidate, CPP-115.

Last month, Catalyst Pharma had announced that Firdapse was given Breakthrough Therapy designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA). The FDA gave the above-mentioned designation for the Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (:LEMS) indication. The designation from the FDA was based on encouraging data from clinical trials of Firdapse in patients with LEMS.

We remind investors that Firdapse enjoys orphan drug status in the U.S., EU and Switzerland. Catalyst Pharma acquired marketing rights to Firdapse from BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (BMRN) in Oct 2012. Only the North American rights were licensed. Firdapse is currently in a phase III study for LEMS in the U.S. Top-line results from the double-blind portion of the study is expected in the second quarter of 2014.

Meanwhile, Catalyst Pharma also plans to evaluate Firdapse for the treatment of myasthenia gravis and congenital myasthenic syndrome, among others.

BioMarin Pharma currently markets Firdapse in the EU for the treatment of LEMS where it was approved in Dec 2009. Firdapse generated sales of $14.2 million in 2012, up 7.6% year over year.

Apart from Firdapse, Catalyst Pharma is also looking to evaluate CPP-115 to treat epilepsy and other selected central nervous disease indications. We note that CPP-115 also enjoys orphan drug status in the U.S. for the treatment of infantile spasms and West’s syndrome (a form of infantile spasms) in the EU.

Catalyst Pharma carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Currently, companies which look attractive include Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), respectively.

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