Call Buyers Target Small-Cap Bio Showing Relative Strength Ahead of Key Q2 Events
Kezar Life Sciences (KZR) jumpy late on 4/7 with buyers of 3,500 July $20 calls for $1.75 to $1.90 to open, nice flag forming near recent highs for the small-cap biotech. The $919M company jumped in November after positive interim results for their treatment for autoimmune disease lupus nephritis. KZR focuses on treatments for immune-mediated and oncologic disorders through small molecule therapies that harness master regulators of cellular function to inhibit the drivers of the disease. Their pipeline includes two key drugs – KZR-616 which is a selective immunoproteasome inhibitor with early-stage trials in both LN and dermatomyositis polymyositis; the other is KZR-561, a protein secretion inhibitor that is being explored in metastatic solid tumors. LN is inflammation of the kidney that is caused by systemic lupus erythematosus and occurs when lupus autoantibodies affect structures in your kidneys that filter out waste. This can lead to kidney failure but the vast majority of people live with the disease for the remainder of their life, albeit with symptoms like high blood pressure. Wells Fargo started coverage in December at Overweight. The firm thinks sees a favorable risk/reward ahead of two key de-risking events expected in Q2 of 2022 for KZR-616 and believes the interim data from Phase 1b/2 study in lupus nephritis provides confidence that the top line results should be positive. Hedge fund ownership jumped 58.5% last quarter. IKARIAN Capital, Point 72 and Avidity Partners notable buyers.