Sales lag but Opthea shares jump on trials result

Biopharmaceutical company Opthea (ASX: OPT) ended the week with its shares a record high of $2.91 following news of successful clinical trials, but despite a fall in sales and rising losses.

The Melbourne company soared on news that it had achieved the primary endpoint in its Phase 2b trial of the company’s OPT-302 treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the eye.

Macular degeneration is an eye disease that causes blurred and even loss of vision in the centre of what you would normally see.

A combination treatment of OPT-302 and conventional therapies delivered superior visual acuity gain compared to Lucentis therapies.

Professor Tim Jackson, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at King’s College London, said OPT-302 combination therapy showed statistical superiority in improving mean visual acuity.

He said: “Taken together, these results indicate that combined suppression of VEGF A, C and D has considerable potential as a novel treatment for wet AMD.”

The company believes that clinically meaningful gains in visual acuity approaching three lines of vision may be possible with OPT-302 combination therapy.

The announcement saw Opthea shares more than double to reach $1.85.

On Friday the company’s preliminary final report for the year revealed revenues were down 20 per cent to $915,000 and losses were up a similar per centage to $20,910,061 as a result of continued R&D expenditure.

The company is in a strong position with $20 million in cash and an additional $14 million anticipated later this year from a R&D tax rebate

However the markets shrugged off the report, closing at $2.91.

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