Biotech Firm Surges After Trump Features CEO’s Daughter in Speech

  • Biotechnology startup works on drugs for rare diseases
  • Stock gains as much as 15 percent, most since November

President Donald Trump can pummel a company with a tweet -- or send one spiking with a speech, as Amicus Therapeutics Inc. shareholders learned Wednesday.

The biotechnology company surged the most in more than three months after the daughter of the company’s CEO was saluted by Trump during his first address to Congress Tuesday night. Amicus has an experimental drug for a rare disease that it’s trying to get approved by the Food and Drug Administration, though it’s been asked to collect more data by the agency.

“Joining us in the gallery is a rare disease survivor, Megan Crowley,” Trump said in his address, where he laid out his agenda. Crowley was diagnosed with a rare condition called Pompe disease, prompting her father, John Crowley, who now runs Amicus, to found a company working on the condition, Trump said. He also called for faster approvals by the FDA.

“Our slow and burdensome approval process at the Food and Drug Administration keeps too many advances, like the one that saved Megan’s life, from reaching those in need,” the president said. Trump has yet to name an FDA commissioner.

Shares of Amicus were up 9.6 percent to $7.12 at 11 a.m. in New York, after earlier surging as much as 15 percent.

Amicus Pipeline

Amicus, based in Cranbury, New Jersey, has one drug approved in Europe, Galafold, for the rare condition Fabry disease. In November, the FDA declined to give the company a fast-track review for the therapy, saying Amicus needed to collect more extensive data. Shares plummeted.

The company is also working on drugs for Pompe disease and Epidermolysis Bullosa, a group of rare skin-blistering diseases. On Wednesday, Amicus also reaffirmed its spending forecast for 2017, and said it had $5 million in sales.

Crowley founded an earlier company, Novazyme Pharmaceuticals, after two of his children were diagnosed with Pompe disease in 1998. Novazyme and its lead asset, a drug for the often-fatal condition, were snapped up by Genzyme Corp. in 2001, and the FDA approved the therapy, Myozyme, in 2006, after just nine months of review.

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