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Hawk’s Nest

Bulls Confident in Probability of Success for Key CNS Biotech Event

by | Nov 2, 2021

Sage Therapeutics (SAGE) with notable bullish options activity early on 11/2 and shares closed strong with 2500 May $50 calls bought for $5.50, 1000 January $35 puts sold to open for $2.20 and a buyer of 200 January 2023 $47.50 calls for $8 to $8.10. SAGE previously saw 4000 January $50/$65 call spreads bought on 10/5 that remain in open interest. SAGE has also seen some large insider buying recently including $1M investment in August from the CEO at $43.15. He also bought $500K in June at $56.32 and another director bought $1M at $56 in June. SAGE is a $2.6B Biotech trading 1.37X cash focused on CNS disorders and sales estimates are around $200M for 2023. Its first product, ZULRESSO® (brexanolone) CIV injection, is approved in the U.S. for the treatment of postpartum depression, or PPD, in adults. Its next most advanced product candidate is zuranolone (SAGE-217), a novel oral compound being developed for certain affective disorders, including major depressive disorder, or MDD, and PPD. SAGE is expected to give SHORELINE results in late 2021, CORAL in early 2022, and SKYLARK in mid-2022. SAGE shares rallied sharply off the opening lows today after holding its earnings call. SAGE reported 3Q US Zulresso net sales in postpartum depression (PPD) of $1.4M which missed estimates. A key driver of the move was that SAGE announced the primary endpoint of the Ph3 CORAL study (zuranolone treatment in combination with baseline antidepressant for rapid response therapy) has been amended to be evaluated at Day 3 (vs. Day 15 prior) to better demonstrate zuranolone’s rapid onset of action and relief of depressive symptoms. Goldman has a $174 target and notes “the change increases our confidence in the outcome of the CORAL study and importantly will be informative for defining the use case for zuranolone and driving commercial uptake.”  Piper also sees the move raising the odds of approval and has a $100 target.