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Why Arbutus Biopharma Stock Plunged 24.4% Today

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Stock performance

Today, Arbutus Biopharma (ABUS) stock is trading at $6.87, which is a 24.42% decline from its October 8 closing price of $9.09. Arbutus Biopharma’s closing price on October 8 represents ~111.0% growth from its 52-week low of $4.30 on December 15, 2017. On August 2, Arbutus Pharma hit its 52-week high of $12.60.

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Why did ABUS drop?

Today, Arbutus Biopharma (ABUS) provided an update on ARB-1467, an RNAi candidate that targets HBV replication and antigen production. Presently, six individuals with HBV have been enrolled and treated.

In week 6 of this clinical trial, three patients (50%) couldn’t achieve the predetermined response parameters that would allow them to proceed for PEG-IFN (pegylated interferon) therapy. Two other patients in the trial have not yet reached the six-week analysis stage for assessment to proceed with the PEG-IFN therapy. Only one patient in the clinical trial showed a significant response.

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals

On October 4, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals (ARWR) entered into a collaboration agreement with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) for the development and commercialization of ARO-HBV, Arrowhead’s investigational HBV therapy. To learn more about this $3.7 billion deal, please refer to How Is Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Stock Positioned?

In September, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals provided an update on its ARO-HBV program. Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals’ ARO-HBV demonstrated significant reductions of HBsAg (hepatitis B surface antigen) at a low dose. Arbutus Biopharma’s RNAi program faces stiff competition from Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals’ ARO-HBV program.

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HBV program

Today, Arbutus Biopharma also provided an update on its HBV development program. Arbutus Biopharma noted that its small molecule AB-506, a second-generation capsid inhibitor that’s currently in the Phase 1a/1b trial, demonstrated general safety and tolerability after ten days of dosing on healthy volunteers. Also, the company’s AB-452, an RNA destabilizer, showed positive effects in preclinical models.

Analysts’ recommendations

Six analysts are tracking Arbutus Biopharma (ABUS) stock in October. One analyst recommended a “strong buy,” two analysts recommended a “buy,” two analysts recommended a “hold,” and one analyst recommended a “sell.” The chart above illustrates Wall Street analysts’ recommendations on ABUS since October 2017.

On October 9, Arbutus Biopharma had a consensus 12-month target price of $10.75, which is an ~18.26% return on investment over the next 12 months.

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