Graphic Evidence: Spherix Doubles on Cholesterol Mice
by Paul Springer
Mice played a central role in the 100% jump Spherix Inc. (SPEX) stock took this morning.
After the close on Thursday, Spherix announced “that its drug candidate, SPX-106, achieved statistically significant reductions in VLDL and LDL cholesterol when administered in combination with Dtagatose (SPX-106T) for nine weeks to genetically engineered mice prone to dyslipidemia.”
LDL is the “bad” cholesterol. VLDL is bad, too, but can’t be measured directly in humans, according to Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr. Thomas Behrenbeck:
There’s no simple, direct way to measure VLDL cholesterol, which is why it’s normally not mentioned during a routine cholesterol screening. VLDL cholesterol is usually estimated as a percentage of your triglyceride value.
So what’s with the mice? The testing on mice indicates the new treatment has not reached the human trials stage yet, Spherix said in a statement:
The first studies designed specifically to test SPX-106T are nearing completion and results will be announced this fall. The Company plans to start an initial human efficacy study in the first quarter of 2012.
Biotech stocks routinely take a rocket ride when testing hits key clinical trial milestones or when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves results or gives the greenlight for sale to the public.
Success in a rodent tests is good news. But a 100% jump on these results seems like an indication of the panic gnawing at markets this summer.
This is a company that faces monstrous competition while still offering interesting possibilities. A number of cholesterol treatments are being aggressively marketed by huge corporations – too aggressively according to critics like this one, who notes a campaign to put chewable cholestrol drugs in the mouths of school children.
The currently available drugs also come with a host of possible side-effects. Clearly, a treatment with fewer complications could tap a huge market. But a study on mice doesn’t get you there.
Still, Spherix is not a one-trick pony – it’s also working on a diabetes treatment (D-Tagatose). The company said it’s seeking a pharmaceutical partner for continuing work on the diabetes drug. The partnership could expedite development or even lead to a buyout that would cash out Spherix shareholders.
At this point, though, it remains unclear who is buying Spherix at twice yesterday’s price.
Maybe it’s the mice. After all, they are the ultimate insiders in this situation.
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