What the heck is Jim Cramer supposed to make out of the breathtaking Axovant Sciences? It hit the tape as the biggest biotech IPO ever on Thursday, and skyrocketed 99 percent right out of the gate.
Axovant went public at $15 on Thursday, and closed at $29—which makes Cramer a bit worried that things have gotten ahead of themselves with the stock because the target end market is so large. The company currently has one drug in its pipeline, RVT-101, which is an orally administered therapy designed to help patients with Alzheimer's disease.
The company acquired the drug from GlaxoSmithKline for $5 million last December. Results of a phase 2 study revealed that while the drug did help to alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer's, it didn't actually change the course of the disease.
"It is worth mentioning that this clinical trial has been viewed with skepticism by a number of people in the biotech community, although the strength of the IPO says that it doesn't pay to be too skeptical, at least when it comes to getting in on this deal," the "Mad Money" host said.
Axovant plans to move its drug into phase 3 trials later this year, and if everything goes well then Cramer thinks this could be a compelling story. However, he worries that investors have a long history of getting burned by potential Alzheimer's drugs that appear to be attractive, but never actually make it to market.
Given the fact that GlaxoSmithKline sold the drug to Axovant for $5 million upfront, along with a few milestone payments and royalties, could it really be worth the current valuation of Axovant at $2.2 billion?
To make the company even more interesting, Axovant's CEO Vivek Ramaswamy is just 29 years old and was featured in Forbes' 30 Under 30 list last year. As a former partner at QVT Financial, he left the firm and founded Roivant Sciences, sits on the board of OnCore Biopharma and is chairman of the board of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals. He also achieved a degree in biology from Harvard College, and J.D. degree from Yale Law School—while working at QVT Financial.
Is Axovant's drug the real deal? To find out more about the company's trajectory, Cramer spoke with Ramaswamy.
The CEO stated that he has confidence in Axovant's drug, as it could help the 5 million patients in the U.S. with Alzheimer's disease. The company's focus is not only on the treatment of Alzheimer's, but also dementia and other forms of dementia.
His confidence stems from the strength of his team, including the developer of the most widely used drug to treat Alzheimer's disease, along with board members that include the former head of neuroscience from GlaxoSmithKline who led the development of this drug.
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"The thing in Alzheimer's disease to remember, and we remember this all the time at Axovant, is we don't fully understand the way the actual underlying disease works. Not just us at Axovant, but the field more generally," Ramaswamy said.
The CEO added that RVT-101 is a neurotransmitter targeted therapy that works through the release of acetylcholine, which is already known to be an effective treatment. Thus, the drug utilizes already effective methods of treatment and, according to Ramaswamy, is a well-tolerated drug that can be taken in pill form once a day.
"We believe we are only one additional phase 3 study away from the approval of this drug on a global basis," Ramaswamy added.
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