Shares of biodefense company PharmAthene, Inc. (AMEX: PIP) soared almost 32 percent from Friday’s closing price, in morning trading on Monday after WBB Securities upgraded its rating on the stock to a Strong Buy. The tailwind for PharmAthene began last week after it was announced that the NYSE Amex LLC (NYSE Amex) determined that the Company made a reasonable demonstration of its ability to regain compliance with the NYSE Amex listing requirements and granted PharmAthene an extension until January 26, 2012 to demonstrate its compliance.
PharmAthene also caught a huge boost from last week’s news that the United States is spending up to $2.8 billion to shore up its defenses against biological warfare, according to SIGA Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: SIGA), the drugmaker who expects to get a government contract to supply smallpox antiviral drugs.In December 2006, PharmAthene had filed a case against SIGA pursuant to a merger agreement between the companies that was terminated in October 2006. The trial is expected to start on Jan. 3, 2011. Noble Financial Capital Markets analyst Raghuram Selvaraju expects the court case with PharmAthene to be ruled in its favor, with PharmAthene getting a percentage of SIGA’s contract with the government. Roth Capital Partners analyst Joseph Pantginis said the contract has positive implications to PharmAthene that can now identify the exact measure of potential damages.
TheStreet.com’s James Altucher recently wrote that on the basis of this contract alone, Pharmathene would potentially make up to a billion dollars in cash earnings. “On this one catalyst I think PIP is potentially a $7 – $12 stock,” he stated in his October 15, 2010 article.
PharmAthene is also positioning its anthrax vaccine, Valortim, as a potential alternative to the existing vaccine that is administered to military personnel and individuals who work in high-risk environments. Anthrax is considered the Department of Defense’s No. 1 biological threat. The US is required to have a stockpile of 75 million doses of vaccine. Right now, the only approved supplier of doses of vaccine is EBS, which has a long-approved first-generation vaccine that requires 5 doses over 18 months and costs $120 per dose. PIP’s second-generation vaccine requires 3 doses over 60 days and costs about $45 a dose, according to PharmAthene’s Chief Executive Officer, Eric Richman.