Alder Surges as Drug Meets Migraine Goals in Mid-Stage Trial

  • Shares rise as much as 62%, biggest intraday gain ever
  • Drugmakers are racing to get migraine therapies to market

Alder Biopharmaceuticals Inc. rose as much as 62 percent, its biggest intraday gain ever, after saying that its experimental infusion to prevent migraines met the main goals of a mid-stage trial.

Alder’s drug ALD403 knocked down migraine days by at least 75 percent per month in 41 percent of patients on its highest dose, according to a company statement Monday. Alder, which sold shares in an initial public offering in May 2014, was up 57 percent to $26.93 at 10:49 a.m. in New York.

The results help Alder keep pace in a tight race withdrugmakers Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Amgen Inc., Eli Lilly & Co. and Allergan Plc that are looking to get migraines therapies to market that use the same approach as Alder’s, called anti-CGRPs. These work by suppressing the CGRP protein, which is believed to have an important role in maintaining pain and causing migraines. On a call with analysts, Alder Chief Executive Officer Randall Schatzman said he expects the competitor drugs to enter the market within nine to 12 months of each other. 

“This morning’s data provide clear confirmation of ALD403’s effectiveness in migraine prophylaxis and clean safety profile,” Brian Abrahams, an analyst at Jefferies LLC who recommends buying the shares, wrote in a note to clients. “We see this as addressing key uncertainties and setting the stage for share appreciation to levels more reflective of ’403’s late stage of development and multi-billion dollar market potential.”

In the twelve weeks after one infusion of ALD403 at both the highest and second-highest doses, more patients saw their chronic migraine days decline significantly than those infused with a placebo. About 23 percent of 116 patients on placebo saw their migraine days fall at least 75 percent per month, compared with 39 percent of the 232 on the two highest doses of the Alder drug. On the call with analysts, CEO Schatzman said that the safety data wasn’t available, but that nothing had been seen yet that differed from previous trials.

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