Trading in Amarin Muted After Thursday's After Hours Massacre
Trading in shares of Amarin (NASDAQ: AMRN) has been muted on Friday despite the expectation for high levels of volatility after the stock plunged 20 percent in Thursday's after hours trading session.
It would appear that the stock has found equilibrium after the big after hours decline, because shares have traded in a fairly tight range, all things considered, on Friday and were last down around 19 percent. Heading into the closing bell, Amarin was sitting at $9.73, which compares to the after hours close of $9.75 on Thursday.
The reason for the move lower in the stock was the announcement that Amarin has raised $100 million in debt financing and is planning on hiring a sales force of 250-300 reps to market its fish-oil drug Vascepa. The announcement of financing and plans to hire a sales force would seem to indicate that Amarin's efforts to find a marketing partner for the drug or reach a buyout deal have failed.
The launch of Vascepa has been delayed since it gained approval on July 26, 2012, as Amarin searched for a Big Pharma marketing partner. Management has also suggested repeatedly that a deal for the entire company is a possibility.
Although Amarin CEO Joe Zakrzewski said on a conference call that "all options are still on the table" and "partner discussions were still active," it is now very likely that the company will be forced to handle the drug launch on its own.
The next catalyst for the stock will likely be an FDA decision on Vascepa's New Chemical Entity (NCE) status. That decision could come at any time and the company has said it has no idea when the FDA will make the ruling.
If the drug were granted NCE status, it would give it a five year window of market exclusivity, which in turn would make Amarin more attractive to a Big Pharma partner.
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