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Why Low-Float, Thinly Traded ContraVir Pharma's Rally Is Continuing

Shanthi Rexaline

June has been an eventful month for ContraVir Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: CTRV).

Close on the heels of a 1-for-70 reverse stock split, which became effective June 3, the company has had incremental good tidings that lent support to the stock.

What Happened

ContraVir announced Tuesday that PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed journal, published a research article entitled "The Cyclophilin Inhibitor CRV431 Inhibits Liver HBV DNA and HBsAg in Transgenic Mice."

The article covers how ContraVir's CRV431 greatly reduces Hepatitis B virus, or HBV, DNA in the liver of transgenic mice in a dose-dependent manner.

CRV431 acts by interfering with the way HBV uses the body's molecules to amplify virus replication as opposed to traditional antivirals such as Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD)'s tenofovir, which binds only to HBV proteins.

"This study suggests that CRV431 and tenofovir can be used in combination to significantly decrease HBV DNA levels in the liver, and we are conducting further studies to elucidate CRV431's mechanism of action," ContraVir CEO Robert Foster said in a statement. 

ContraVir is developing CRV431 for NASH, fibrosis and other liver diseases such as viral hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Positive Liver Fibrosis Data

Last week, ContraVir announced preclinical data for CRV431 that showed a significant reduction in the extent of fibrosis in a second animal model of liver fibrosis.

The study compared CRV431 with Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ICPT)'s obeticholic acid, a late-stage NASH candidate, and found the latter to be ineffective.

The data sent the stock up about 42 percent on June 6. ContraVir shares are up about 60 percent since the start of June.

The stock was rallying by 31.86 percent to $9.23 at the time of publication Tuesday. 

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