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Micro-Cap Biotech Kezar Life Sciences Trades Sharply Lower On New Data

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Micro-Cap Biotech Kezar Life Sciences Trades Sharply Lower On New Data

Shares of Kezar Life Sciences Inc (NASDAQ: KZR) have retreated to a fresh 52-week low on roughly five times their average volume.

What Happened

Kezar announced data Tuesday from the first two cohorts of a Phase 1b open-label dose escalation study, MISSION, of KZR-616 in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE.

The company is a micro-cap biotech that develops small molecule therapeutics to treat unmet needs in auto-immunity and cancer.

The data is to be presented at the European League Against Rheumatism, or EULAR, 2019 Annual European Congress of Rheumatology June 12-15 in Madrid, Spain.

An abstract of the data made available online at the EULAR website showed that in the second cohort where two patients received 60mg of KZR-616, the enrollment was halted, as all patients experienced vomiting within eight to 24 hours.

Although the issue was resolved within 24 hours, one patient had a serious adverse event of thrombotic microangiopathy.

Only two, or 33 percent of the evaluable patients in the first cohort; and two, or 67 percent of evaluable patients in the second cohort, had an SLE Disease Activity Index improvement of four points or more from the baseline at week 13.

Why It's Important

KZR-616 is Kezar's lead compound that is being evaluated for multiple indications. The Phase 2 trial for SLE is set to be initiated in the second quarter of 2019.

What's Next

Kezar is set to present detailed data regarding the trial, outcome measures and patients enrolled at the EULAR 2019 annual European Congress of Rheumatology meeting.

The stock was down more than 44 percent at $9.45 at the time of publication Tuesday. 

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