Imagine being born with skin so fragile that almost every time you move or touch something, wounds or blisters erupt. This condition, epidermolysis bullosa or EB, affects 500,000 people around the world, including 5,000 in the UK.
There is no cure and children suffering from severe EB – about 160,000 worldwide – spend most of their lives wrapped in bandages. Life expectancy is short and they are in acute pain from morning to night.
Now, however, a glimmer of hope is in sight. AIM-listed Amryt Pharma has just received positive results from a new drug designed to help EB wounds heal faster and improve sufferers’ quality of life.
Research: Amryt Pharma has just received positive results from a new drug designed to help EB sufferers
Midas recommended Amryt Pharma in 2017 when the shares were 17.5p. The company undertook a six-for-one share consolidation last year so that 17.5p is equivalent to £1.06 now.
Last week, Amryt shares closed at £1.95, having risen sharply on news of the positive trial. This is the first successful trial of its kind in the world and widely expected to mean that Amryt’s drug, Filsuvez, will be approved for use by 2022. And, even though the number of sufferers is relatively few worldwide, annual sales could amount to hundreds of millions of pounds.
Amryt is not just a one-trick pony, however. The company, headquartered in Dublin, was formed to develop drugs that help people with rare conditions that reduce life expectancy, curtail quality of life and are extremely hard to treat. T
he group already has two products in its portfolio that are commercially approved and generating revenues.
Lojuxta treats people suffering from excessively high cholesterol, a congenital condition that puts children at risk of heart attacks and strokes even before they reach school age. Left untreated, sufferers rarely reach adulthood.
Amryt’s other drug, Myaletpt, treats lipodystrophy, a disease that affects appetite and metabolism. Sufferers tend to be constantly ravenous and skeletally thin but fat builds up around their organs so they can develop severe diabetes, as well as liver, kidney and heart conditions. Sales of these drugs are increasing steadily and chief executive Joe Wiley expects full-year revenues of around $170million (£134million), up more than 10 per cent from 2019.
The group has also developed a global distribution network, which should facilitate Filsuvez sales.
Wiley is already in talks with doctors about the drug and looking for more early-stage products to add to his portfolio. The group listed on the US Nasdaq exchange earlier this year too, which has boosted its profile in America among investors, drug developers and doctors.
Midas verdict: Amryt Pharma is unlike many biotech firms because it is already making money and growing fast. Brokers forecast sales of at least $200million for 2021, with significantly higher revenues in subsequent years. Investors who bought three years ago have done well and may choose to bank some profit at £1.95. But they should retain most of their shares as the stock has considerable potential. New investors may fancy a punt on this one, too.
Traded on: AIM Ticker: AMYT Contact: amrytpharma.com or 00 353 1 518 0200