(Summary) (Company) (Chart)
27 March 2018
1yr Target $6.00
Payout Ratio 0.00%
1yr Cap Gain %
1yr Tot Return %
EPS (ttm) $-0.61
EPS next yr $-0.20
Forward P/E ---
EPS next 5yr 61.00%
1yr Price Support ---
Market Cap $558.13 Mil
Revenues $4.50 Mil
Earnings $-78.00 Mil
Profit Margin ---
Quick Ratio 6.40
Current Ratio 6.40
1yr RevGR %
3yr RevGR %
5yr RevGR %
1yr EarnGR %
3yr EarnGR %
5yr EarnGR %
1yr DivGR %
3yr DivGR %
5yr DivGR %
Rigel's goal is to become a commercial stage company actively involved in innovative drug discovery, development and commercialization, and become well-respected in the hematology space with healthcare providers, investors and within the biotech industry. They are building a strong commercial team to successfully execute on their commercialization plan for fostamatinib in ITP.
The Company's research team is focused on creating a portfolio of product candidates that may be developed as therapeutics for their own proprietary programs or developed by potential collaborative partners. Rigel recognizes that the product development process is subject to both high costs and a high risk of failure. They believe that identifying a variety of product candidates and strategically partnering with other pharmaceutical companies may minimize the risk of failure, fill the product pipeline gap at major pharmaceutical companies, and ultimately increase the likelihood of advancing clinical development and potential commercialization of the product candidates.
The key elements to their business and scientific strategy are to:
- capitalize on the opportunity to potentially commercialize fostamatinib in the United States, where they believe they can successfully compete;
- outlicense European, Asian and rest of the world rights to fostamatinib;
- develop and commercialize fostamatinib for possible additional indications, including AIHA and IgAN;
- develop a diverse portfolio of drug candidates that address a focused brand of therapeutic indications or that represent significant market opportunities;
- utilize their discovery engine to discover and validate new product candidates in a focused range of therapeutic indications; and
- develop drug candidates and establish strategic collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to further develop and market their product candidates.
Recent Events within the Company
In November 2017, Rigel announced that they completed enrollment of the second cohort of our Phase 2 study of fostamatinib in IgA Nephropathy (IgAN).
In October 2017, Rigel reported the following:
- the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completed its mid-cycle review and indicated that it did not plan on holding an Oncology Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) meeting to discuss the Company's NDA for fostamatinib in patients with chronic ITP;
- Rigel completed enrollment of Stage 1 of our Phase 2, open-label, multi-center, two-stage study of their investigational drug fostamatinib for the treatment of patients with warm Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) and that on a preliminary basis, the study has achieved its pre-specified endpoints for Stage 1; and
- Rigel completed an underwritten public offering in which they sold 20,815,000 shares of common stock pursuant to an effective registration statement at a price to the public of $3.35 per share and received net proceeds of approximately $65.3 million.
In August 2017, Rigel announced that they have selected a molecule from their Interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase (IRAK) program for preclinical development.
In June 2017, Rigel announced that the FDA accepted the Company's NDA for the use of fostamatinib disodium in patients with chronic ITP. They also announced that the FDA set an expected action date of April 17, 2018 to complete its review of fostamatinib under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA).
In April 2017, Rigel announced the following:
- Rigel submitted an NDA with the FDA for the use of fostamatinib in patients with chronic ITP; and
- the FDA conditionally accepted the proprietary name TAVALISSETM for their investigational product candidate, fostamatinib disodium, an oral spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) inhibitor.
In February 2017, Rigel completed an underwritten public offering in which they sold 23,000,000 shares of common stock pursuant to an effective registration statement at a price to the public of $2.00 per share. The Company received net proceeds of approximately $43.0 million.
Chronic ITP affects an estimated 65,000 adult patients in the U.S. In patients with ITP, the immune system attacks and destroys the body’s own blood platelets, which play an active role in blood clotting and healing. ITP patients can suffer extraordinary bruising, bleeding and fatigue as a result of low platelet counts. Current therapies for ITP include steroids, blood platelet production boosters that imitate thrombopoietin (TPOs) and splenectomy.
Taken in tablet form, fostamatinib blocks the activation of SYK inside immune cells. ITP is typically characterized by the body producing antibodies that attach to healthy platelets in the blood stream. Immune cells recognize these antibodies and affix to them, which activates the SYK enzyme inside the immune cell, and triggers the destruction of the antibody and the attached platelet. When SYK is inhibited by fostamatinib, it interrupts this immune cell function and allows the platelets to escape destruction. The results of Rigel's Phase 2 clinical trial, in which fostamatinib was orally administered to sixteen adults with chronic ITP, published in Blood, showed that fostamatinib significantly increased the platelet counts of certain ITP patients, including those who had failed other currently available agents.
The Company met with the FDA for an end-of-Phase 2 meeting for fostamatinib in ITP. Based on that meeting, they designed a Phase 3 clinical program, called fostamatinib in thrombocytopenia (FIT), in which a total of 150 ITP patients were randomized into two identical multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. The patients were diagnosed with persistent or chronic ITP, and had blood platelet counts consistently below 30,000 per microliter of blood. Two-thirds of the subjects received fostamatinib orally at 100 mg bid (twice daily) and the other third received placebo on the same schedule. Subjects were expected to remain on treatment for up to 24 weeks. At week four of treatment, subjects who failed to meet certain platelet count and met certain tolerability thresholds could have their dosage of fostamatinib (or corresponding placebo) increased to 150 mg bid. The primary efficacy endpoint of this program was a stable platelet response by week 24 with platelet counts at or above 50,000 per microliter of blood for at least four of the final six qualifying blood draws. In August 2015, the FDA granted the Company's request for Orphan Drug designation for fostamatinib for the treatment of ITP. On April 1, 2016, Rigel announced that they had completed enrollment in the FIT Phase 3 clinical program.
On August 30, 2016, Rigel announced the results of the first study, reporting that fostamatinib met the study’s primary efficacy endpoint. The study showed that 18% of patients receiving fostamatinib achieved a stable platelet response compared to none receiving a placebo control (p=0.0261). On October 20, 2016, the Company announced the results of the second study, reporting that the response rate was 18%, consistent with the first study. However, one patient in the placebo group (4%) achieved a stable platelet response, therefore the difference between those on treatment and those on placebo did not reach statistical significance (p=0.152) and the study did not meet its primary endpoint. When the data from both studies are combined, however, this difference is statistically significant (p=0.007). In the combined datasets for the FIT studies, patients who met the primary endpoint had their platelet counts increase from a median of 18,500/uL of blood at baseline to more than 100,000/uL at week 24 of treatment. These patients had improvements in platelet count and typically did so within weeks of initiating treatment, providing early feedback as to whether fostamatinib may be a viable option for treating their ITP. In the combined datasets, the frequency of patients who achieved a stable platelet response was statistically superior in the fostamatinib group versus the placebo group in the following subgroups: prior splenectomy or not; prior exposure to TPO agents or not; platelet counts below or above 15,000/uL of blood at baseline, demonstrating that the effect of fostamatinib is consistent across various clinical and treatment backgrounds.
Patients from the FIT studies were given the option to enroll in a long-term open-label extension study and receive treatment with fostamatinib, also a Phase 3 trial. A total of 123 patients enrolled in this study. All the patients who responded to fostamatinib in the FIT studies and enrolled in the long-term open-label extension study maintained a median platelet count of 106,500/uL at a median of 16 months. In addition, there were 44 placebo non-responders that enrolled in the long- term open-label extension study. 41 of these patients had at least 12 weeks of follow-up. Of those, 9 patients (22%) have achieved a prospectively defined stable platelet response, which is statistically significant (p=0.0078) and similar to the response rate fostamatinib achieved in the parent studies.
A stable response was defined as a patient achieving platelet counts of greater than 50,000/uL on more than 4 of the 6 visits between weeks 14 and 24, without rescue medication. In the post-study analysis performed by the Company, a clinically-relevant platelet response was defined to include patients achieving one platelet count over 50,000/uL during the first 12 weeks of treatment, in absence of rescue medication, but who did not otherwise meet the stable response criteria. Once the platelet count of greater than 50,000/uL is achieved, a loss of response was defined as two consecutive platelet counts of less than 30,000/uL in any subsequent visits. In the combined dataset of both stable and clinically-relevant platelet responders for the FIT studies, the response rate was 43% (43/101), compared to 14% (7/49) for placebo (p=0.0006).
The most frequent adverse events were gastrointestinal-related, and the safety profile of the product was consistent with prior clinical experience, with no new or unusual safety issues uncovered. Rigel submitted an NDA for fostamatinib in ITP in April 2017, which was accepted by the FDA in June 2017, with an action date for the FDA to complete its review by April 17, 2018, under the PDUFA. On October 2, 2017, Rigel announced that the FDA did not plan on holding an ODAC meeting to discuss the NDA for fostamatinib in ITP. Additionally, the FDA indicated that the review of fostamatinib is proceeding according to the standard internal review timeline as described in the Guidance on Good Review Management Principles and Practices for PDUFA Products.
Fostamatinib—IgAN Immunoglobulin A Nephropathy (IgAN) is an autoimmune disease that severely affects the functioning of the kidneys. An estimated 12,000 Americans are diagnosed with this type of glomerulonephritis each year, with 25% of whom will eventually require dialysis and/or kidney transplantation over time. IgAN is characterized by the deposition of IgA immune complexes in the glomeruli of the kidneys leading to an inflammatory response and subsequent tissue damage that ultimately disrupts the normal filtering function of the kidneys. By inhibiting SYK in kidney cells, fostamatinib may block the signaling of IgA immune complex receptors, reduce the deposition of IgA immune complexes and arrest or slow destruction of the glomeruli.
Rigel's Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with IgAN, called SIGN (SYK Inhibition for Glomerulonephritis) completed enrollment for its first and second cohorts. In January 2017, the Company announced that the first cohort in the Phase 2 study of fostamatinib in IgAN was completed in various centers throughout Asia, the U.S. and Europe. This cohort evaluated the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of the lower dose of fostamatinib (100mg BID, n=26; placebo n=12) as measured by change in proteinuria, renal function, and histology (comparing the pre- and post-study renal biopsies). The primary efficacy endpoint was the mean change in proteinuria from baseline at 24 weeks. The study found that at 24 weeks, fostamatinib was well tolerated with a good safety profile. The initial data suggest a trend towards a greater reduction in proteinuria in fostamatinib treated patients relative to placebo. The second cohort evaluates a higher dose of fostamatinib (150mg BID) and completed enrollment in August 2017. Rigel expects the study to be completed by April 2018.
Fostamatinib—AIHA AIHA is a rare, serious blood disorder where the immune system produces antibodies that result in the destruction of the body's own red blood cells. Symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, jaundice or enlarged spleen. While no medical treatments are currently approved for AIHA, physicians generally treat acute and chronic cases of the disorder with corticosteroids, other immuno-suppressants, or splenectomy. Research has shown that inhibiting SYK with fostamatinib may reduce the destruction of red blood cells. This disorder affects an estimated 40,000 Americans, for whom no approved treatment options currently exist.
Rigel's Phase 2 clinical trial, also known as SOAR study, is currently enrolling patients with warm AIHA in the second stage of the trial. The trial is an open-label, multi-center, two-stage study that will evaluate the efficacy and safety of fostamatinib in patients with warm AIHA who have previously received treatment for the disorder, but have relapsed. Stage 1 recently completed enrollment for 19 patients (17 patients evaluable for efficacy) who received 150 mg of fostamatinib orally twice a day for a period of 12 weeks, with an option of entering into a long-term extension study. The patients returned to the clinic every two weeks for blood draws and medical assessment. The primary efficacy endpoint of this study was to achieve increased hemoglobin levels by week 12 of greater than 10 g/dL, and greater than or equal to 2 g/dL higher than baseline.
In October 2017, Rigel announced that, on a top-line, preliminary basis, Stage 1 of the AIHA study enrolled 17 patients who have had at least one post-baseline hemoglobin measure. In January 2018, the Company also announced the updated top-line data as of December 2017 for this open-label study of which 47% of these patients (8 patients out of 17) have responded to fostamatinib treatment. Of the 17, six patients, including the last two patients enrolled, responded during the 12-week evaluation period and an additional two patients met the response criteria in the extension study after 12 weeks of dosing. In February 2018, an additional patient in the Stage 1 extension study met the response criteria. As of February 2018, 53% of evaluable patients (9 of 17) have responded to fostamatinib treatment. The safety profile was consistent with the existing fostamatinib safety database. This will be presented at the Thrombosis and Hemostasis Societies of North America meeting in San Diego, California in March 2018. Given that the Stage 1 of the study met its primary efficacy endpoint, Rigel has begun enrollment of Stage 2 of this study, in which 20 patients will be enrolled under the same protocol. In January 2018, the FDA granted the Company's request for Orphan Drug designation for fostamatinib for the treatment of AIHA.
R548 (ATI-50001 and ATI-50002) - Aclaris. Aclaris is developing ATI-50001 and ATI-50002 an oral and topical Janus Kinase (JAK) 1/3 inhibitor. ATI- 50001 is being developed as an oral treatment for patients with AA, including the more severe forms of AA that result in total scalp hair loss, known as alopecia totalis, and total hair loss on the scalp and body, known as alopecia universalis. This Phase 1 cross-over trial was conducted in 12 healthy volunteers at one investigational center in the U.S. to assess the safety, bioavailability, and pharmacodynamics of ATI-50001.
In the trial, treatment with ATI-50001 capsules was well tolerated, with a safety profile similar to placebo. No clinically significant laboratory abnormalities were observed. These data are consistent with results from an earlier Phase 1 clinical trial in 44 healthy volunteers in which the study drug was well tolerated at all doses, with a safety profile similar to placebo. During the fourth quarter of 2017, three Phase 2 studies with the topical treatment ATI-50002 in AA and Vitilago were initiated with results expected in 2018.
BGB324 - BerGenBio. BerGenBio’s first-in-class selective AXL kinase inhibitor, BGB324, has demonstrated compelling efficacy as a single agent, and in combination with standard of care cancer therapies and checkpoint inhibitors, thereby supporting clinical utility across multiple cancers in preclinical studies. Early clinical studies in healthy volunteers and cancer patients have shown BGB324 to be well-tolerated with a favorable safety profile, and encouraging evidence of single agent and combination activity in AML and NSCLC. A strong correlation has also been observed with predictive biomarkers and the patients that respond. BGB324 has received Orphan Drug Designation in the U.S. for AML.
BerGenBio is currently planning Phase 2 studies with BGB324 as a single agent in relapsed acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS); and in combination with erlotinib (Tarceva®) in advanced (EGFR- positive) NSCLC. BerGenBio is also opening Phase 2 studies with BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in non-small cell adenocarcinoma of the lung and triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) in collaboration with another company.
DS-3032 - Daichi. DS-3032 is an investigational oral selective inhibitor of the murine double minute 2 (MDM2) protein currently being investigated by Daiichi in three Phase 1 clinical trials for solid and hematological malignancies including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in blast phase, lymphoma and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). DS-3032 has not been approved by any regulatory authority for uses under investigation.
Preliminary safety and efficacy data from a Phase 1 study of DS-3032 suggests that DS-3032 may be a promising treatment for hematological malignancies including relapsed/refractory AML and high-risk MDS. Evaluation of additional dosing schedules of DS-3032 is underway and combination studies currently being planned by Daiichi.
My Strategy Going Forward.
I found Rigel Pharmaceuticals while researching information on potential options trades. Rigel surfaced as a low priced security with large options premiums and upon further research it became apparent that it had a product that was about to be approved by the FDA. It became apparent that this company could soon break higher so buying the shares became an easy decision to make.
On the other hand, with the FDA there's always the potential that the drug under review wouldn't be approved so that information put enough uncertainty in the shares that the option premiums increased.
So at this point it's becoming an easy decision to begin accumulating these shares this week. My expectation is to buy shares of this company this week in anticipation of FDA approval sometime around 17 April. I also intend to monitor the options market to try to anticipate the direction of the move after the FDA's decision.
A bull strategy would be to sell puts and buy calls. A bear strategy would be to sell calls and buy puts. But since I usually don't like to buy options except in the case of covering a position, I'll initially concentrate on the selling of options. The key here is to be nimble and not afraid to reverse a position quickly, if needed. With the FDA decision expected on 17 April and the options expiring on 20 April, flexibility and pre-planning will be necessary in executing this strategy.
Wish me luck.