Point Biopharma shares sink 11% on study results; Lilly acquisition still up in air

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Point Biopharma headquarters (Photo courtesy of the company)
Point Biopharma headquarters (Photo courtesy of the company)

Shares of Indianapolis-based Point Biopharma fell more than 11% Monday after the company announced results of a clinical trial for its lead compound that fell short of analysts’ expectations.

The development is likely to pressure investors of the four-year-old company to decide whether to agree to sell the company to Eli Lilly and Co. for $1.4 billion, a deal that has been on the table for nearly 11 weeks.

Lilly, the Indianapolis-based drugmaker, announced in October it planned to buy the company, a move that would give it a toehold in radiopharmaceuticals, a fast-growing sector that is developing new targeted drugs to treat cancer.

But several large shareholders of Point Biopharma have refused to tender their shares, saying they wanted to wait to see late-stage clinical results of the young company’s lead compound, called PNT2002, for patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer after progression on hormonal treatment.

On Monday morning, Point Biopharma released the summary data of the study, which showed the drug had a median progression-free survival of 9.5 months, compared to 6 months for patients treated with an established therapy called androgen receptor pathway inhibition.

Point Biopharma officials said the results showed the drug is “well-tolerated and has the potential to play an important role” in addressing patients’ needs.

But the results disappointed investors. Analysts had forecasted a higher median survival of between 10 to 12 months, according to Biopharma Dive, an industry newsletter.

William Blair analysts wrote that the study showed that Point Biopharma’s experimental drug has an “uncompetitive clinical profile” compared to Pluvicto, a competing drug made by Novartis, based in Basel, Switzerland.

“We view the efficacy of the PNT2002 regimen as likely less active than Pluvicto, while the tolerability profile did not exhibit material advantage,” the William Blair analysts wrote, according to Fierce Biotech, an industry newsletter.

Shares of Point Biopharma fell 11.2% Monday to $12.44, down $1.58.

Lilly has offered Point Biopharma shareholders $12.50 a share, an 85% premium over the company’s closing price on Oct. 2, the day before the deal was announced.

Point Biopharma’s largest institutional shareholder, San Francisco-based Biotechnology Value Fund, which holds about 16% of the stock, has dragged its feet on the deal, saying that tendering shares in advance of the study would not be in shareholders’ best interest. The investment fund did not have a comment Monday on the latest development.

Lilly said Monday that as of Dec. 15, only 22.81% of the issued and outstanding shares of Point Biopharma had been tendered. It extended the deadline (for the third time) for Point Biopharma shareholders to tender their shares, this time until 5 p.m. Eastern time on Dec. 22.

Radioligands are seen as a hot, new class of drugs that target cancer cells by linking a radioisotope to a targeting molecule. Together, they deliver radiation directly to cancer cells while limiting the damage to healthy tissues.

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