Biotech and Pharma

Likely FDA approval for postpartum depression drug pushes Sage Therapeutics stock up 40%

Key Points
  • Sage Therapeutics announced successful results in two trials for a new postpartum depression treatment.
  • Analysts said the treatment has an 80 percent chance of receiving FDA approval.
  • "We are on the cusp of a major discovery," CEO Jeff Jonas said Friday.
Sage Therapeutics takes on postpartum depression with trial drug

Shares of Cambridge, Mass.-based biopharmaceutical company Sage Therapeutics are popping after the company announced positive results in trials for a drug that may someday be available to treat those with postpartum depression.

The company is up more than 40 percent to $96.75 this week following two Phase 3 trials evaluating brexanolone. The drug, formerly known as SAGE-547, achieved a significant reduction in depression symptoms after only 60 hours, a rapid reduction in treatment time compared to the options currently available to those suffering from the condition.

"We are on the cusp of a major discovery," CEO Jeff Jonas said Friday on CNBC's Power Lunch.

Analysts from Canaccord Genuity said the probability of FDA approval following the trials increased to about 80 percent.

Postpartum depression occurs in nearly 15 percent of births, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It can include feelings of sadness and anxiety that can limit the ability of those suffering from the condition to take care of themselves or their families.

Current treatment for the condition includes counseling and medication, including anti-depressants. Anti-depressants can take weeks to be effective.

Brexanolone is administered intravenously. The company is also working on an oral treatment called SAGE-217.

The analysts at Canaccord upped their price target for the company to $140.