XOMA Corporation (NASDAQ: XOMA) is a biotechnology company focused on discovery and development of antibody based therapeutics. The company will announce phase 3 trial results of one of their main product candidates, Gevokizumab for treatment of Behçet's disease, by mid July. The stock is about 30% away from its 52 week high and a run up towards the catalyst is expected.
Gevokizumab is an antibody with a potential to treat patients who suffer from various inflammatory and other diseases. The drug binds interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), a pro-inflammatory small protein. IL-1 beta is involved in many disease states and has been shown to be involved in diverse array of disease states, including Behçet's disease, cardiovascular disease, and other auto-inflammatory diseases.
Behçet's disease is an orphan disease that causes chronic inflammation of the blood vessels, also known as vasculitis. Symptoms can affect the neurological, pulmonary, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular systems. The disease usually develops in men and women in their twenties, thirties and forties. Behçet's disease is most common among people from countries in the ancient trade route, Silk Road - Turkey, eastern Mediterranean countries, Japan and Korea. Behçet's disease more often than not affect the eye segment, and in some cases may cause permanent blindness. As of last year, there are estimated 15,000 suffering from the disease In the United States.
The Phase 3 EYEGUARD-B study is a randomized, double masked, placebo controlled study examining the efficiency of Gevokizumab. Patients randomly receive either a 60 mg dose of Gevokizumab or placebo. The success of the trial is crucial to the company not only because of the importance of Behçet's disease treatment, but also because it will prove that XOMA’s antibody technology is efficient, hyping other trials of Gevokizumab, like the phase 2 trial testing the drug as a treatment for type 2 diabetes and diabetic kidney disease. According to XOMA, Gevokizumab has potential to treat various diseases, and the results from the phase 3 trial might show that potential.
XOMA has $47.2 million debt, and $67.5 million cash. Most of the debt was raised in the first half of this year, and with an average $20 million cash burn a quarter, the company has enough to conduct their operations and trials until next year.
We will continue our coverage on XOMA once trial results are released.