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Sophiris Bio is a Speculative Buy, says Byron Capital analyst Loe

Sophiris Bio CEO Lars Ekman. Byron Capital analyst Douglas Loe believes the company’s lead offering, PRX302, is advancing nicely, and is well supported by Phase II BPH data and a six-month 92-patient trial last year. Yesterday, Sophiris Bio (TSX:SHS) reported its Q2 2012 results. The company’s loss of $5.69 million was a sharp increase over the $3.3-million it lost in the same period last year, primarily because of increased R&D expenses around its lead offering, prostate drug PRX302.

Byron Capital analyst Douglas Loe said this was a quarter without surprises. Loe believes PRX302 is advancing nicely, and is well supported by Phase II BPH data and a six-month 92-patient trial last year. He says Sophiris’s cash position should support its R&D activities til midway through next year, which would bring it to, but not through, a pivotal Phase Three trail. In a research update to clients yesterday, Loe maintained his Speculative Buy rating and $1 target on Sophiris.

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Founded in Vancouver and now based in San Diego, Sophiris Bio, formerly known as Protox Therapeutics, is an oncology & endocrinology drug developer that is focused on products for the treatment of urological diseases. PRX302, the company’s lead candidate for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is designed to be less invasive than the surgical interventions, and without the sexual side effects seen in existing treatments. In 2010, the company partnered with Japan’s Kissei Pharmaceuticals for the development and commercialization of PRX302 in Japan.

Loe says that, to date, he has been disappointed with the lack of progress on the $75-million Kissei development alliance. But he says there are now encouraging signals on that front, as Sophiris says Kissei will move forward with its own Phase1/11 BPH program, with studies planned for the end of this year.

Prostate gland enlargement, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a big problem and therefore big business. Every year about a quarter million North American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Massachusetts-based research firm Decision Resources says the prostate cancer drug market will experience robust growth over the next decade, increasing from $3.6 billion in 2010 to $10.1 billion in 2020.

Shares of Sophiris Bio closed today down 2.8% to $.35 cents.

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About The Author /

Nick Waddell
Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.

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