Even after the recent dip due to biotech weakness, shares of Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SBPH) have risen by around 25% since I highlighted the company’s unique focus on the hepatitis B market as an intriguing opportunity.
In the prior piece, keys to the bull thesis included the following:
- Collaborations with other firms whose approaches could be seen as complementary (Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARWR), Arbutus Biopharma (NASDAQ:ABUS), etc.).
- Management’s lofty goal of positioning clinical candidate SB 9200 backbone immunomodulatory therapy for HBV treatment.
- A market opportunity expected to grow to $3.5 billion by 2021 where a product that improves on current challenges (low patient compliance rates and predictability of outcomes) could be a game changer.
- A phase 2 clinical collaboration with Gilead (NASDAQ:GILD) with higher dose cohort data coming in early 2018.
- Value inherent in pre-clinical STING agonist SB 11285, which could prove to be an important therapeutic option against PD-1 and PDL-1 resistant tumors, entering the clinic in 2018 based on prior deals involving similar assets (i.e. Novartis (NYSE:NVS) paying Aduro (NASDAQ:ADRO) $200 million upfront for a pre-clinical STING agonist).
I also stated my expectation of dilution before year-end.
What’s Happened Since
On May 23rd, the company announced top-line results from the 25mg monotherapy cohort (n=20) of the phase 2a portion of the ACHIEVE trial. Treatment-naive HBV patients without cirrhosis were enrolled at sites in Hong Kong, Korea and Canada. Patients were randomized four to one to receive either the study drug or placebo on a daily basis for 12 weeks. A statistically significant reduction in HBV DNA at week 12 (p=0.01) compared to placebo with a mean reduction of 0.6 log10 was observed while the secondary endpoint of quantitative HBsAg reduction saw 5 of 16 patients (31%) receiving the study drug with in excess of 0.5 log10 reduction at any time point compared…