The health of the U.S. population has been on a steady decline for the past several decades. Many researches have already cautioned about the obesity epidemic sweeping the nation, resulting in a myriad of secondary issues from hypertension to diabetes. While those conditions are somewhat manageable with the right combination of diet changes and drugs, they are nonetheless a huge burden on both the individual’s well-being and the economy. However, latest advancements by Halozyme Therapeutics and the rise in their stock value could bring new hope for diabetes patients and other sufferers of chronic illness.
The company’s biggest promise in not necessarily the new drugs they are researching, but a new platform for delivering existing medication. By focusing on studying and developing proprietary human enzymes, it attempts to increase the absorption of various biologics by the body. This could mean an increase in effectiveness of existing drugs, cutting down on the required dosage, time needed for the drug to take effect and costs. For example, combining the enzymes with insulin can lead to a much faster absorption and greater glycemic control. By curbing sudden sugar spikes faster, it could provide a quicker relief to the sufferers and prevent further risks.
Despite the company’s steady increases in revenue, the analysts have been predicting drops in the stock prices. This clouded the future potential of the enzyme technology. However, the recent spike in Halozyme Therapeutics’s stock, upwards of 21 percent, could once again bring new hope for diabetes patients in the U.S. The rise followed right after the company announced it would continue its studies evaluating PEGPH20 enzyme among those suffering from pancreatic cancer.
In early April, the Food and Drug Administration had placed a clinical hold on the study, citing a few concerns about potential thromboembolic events. Such an event occurs when a formed blood clot in the veins breaks off and travels through the stream to block another vessel. If the clot settles in certain key organs such as the brain or lungs, it could lead to severe damage and even death.
The company has since revised its protocols for administering their experimental drugs, thus lifting the FDA’s hold and enrolling new patients in the trials. With new potential, investors have quickly jumped to purchase the stock, bumping the prices up and giving the company new funding to continue its research.
About 8.3 percent of the American population suffers from some form of diabetes, having to rely on constant blood sugar monitoring and insulin shots to get through the day. A new drug that promises to help with this condition could have a significant impact on healthcare costs and personal well-being. Halozyme Therapeutics’s drug delivery solution brings new hope for diabetes patients, among others. The company also performs research in areas such as oncology and dermatology, and has already established key partnerships with prominent manufacturers including Pfizer, Roche or Baxter. Nonetheless, any new medical advancements still undergoing studies should be taken with a grain of salt. It is usually best to remain cautiously optimistic until all studies and trials are complete.
By Jakub Kasztalski