Prothena Corp., which is developing a closely-watched treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, is preparing for a potential sale ahead of key data expected in the coming months, people with knowledge of the matter said.
(Bloomberg) — Prothena Corp., which is developing a closely-watched treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, is preparing for a potential sale ahead of key data expected in the coming months, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The biotechnology company has been speaking to advisers as it gets ready to explore strategic options that may include a sale or partnership, according to the people.
Prothena rose 23% at 10:57 a.m. Monday in New York, putting the company on track for the biggest daily gain in over five months and giving it a market value of about $2.9 billion.
The Nasdaq-listed company would likely attract interest from large drugmakers if it decides to go ahead, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
Deliberations are at an early stage and Prothena could opt to remain independent for longer, especially if data expected later this year is negative. A representative for Prothena didn’t immediately comment.
Prothena is developing a treatment that’s among a new generation of antibodies that help clear amyloid, a toxic protein found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Eisai Co. and Biogen Inc. won full US Food and Drug Administration approval in July for Alzheimer’s disease drug Leqembi, the first drug shown to slow progression of the mind-robbing disease that afflicts some six million Americans. Leqembi is among the most potent of the new class of amyloid-clearing drugs but it has to be infused every two weeks by a medical provider.
Dublin-domiciled Prothena is in phase 1 studies for a subcutaneous version of an amyloid-clearing drug, meaning patients could receive the drug through injection instead of at an infusion center. It’s expected to release data later this year on its anti-amyloid beta antibody. Eisai is also developing a subcutaneous version of Leqembi.
Eli Lilly & Co. has its own Alzheimer’s candidate donanemab, which is under US regulatory review.
Prothena also develops drugs that treat other neurogenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. It has agreements with drugmakers such as Bristol Myers Squibb Co., Roche Holding AG and Novo Nordisk A/S, according to an August press release.
Prothena was spun off from Elan Corp. in 2012.
–With assistance from Robert Langreth.
(Updates with context on Prothena’s Alzheimer’s treatment starting in 6th paragraph.)
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