Cocrystal Pharma Inc (NASDAQ: COCP) is screaming for the top in the market this morning, following up on the gains we saw yesterday in a big way. The gains come after the company announced progress in developing broad-spectrum antiviral drug candidates for coronavirus infection. Here’s what’s happening:
COCP Stock Gains On COVID-19 News
In the press release, Cocrystal Pharma reminded investors that it is working to develop broad-spectrum antiviral drug candidates for COVID-19. The company initiated the program in March of last year and has since expanded the program with additional development programs and licensing.
The company’s lead candidate, CDI-45205 is a protease inhibitor obtained under exclusive license agreement with Kansas State University Research Foundation. The treatment has shown good bioavailability in mouse and rat pharmacokinetic studies and no cytotoxicity against a variety of human cell lines.
Moreover, the treatment has demonstrated strong synergy with remdesivir. The company said that the treatment continues to show promising results and will continue to undergo evaluation.
The company also said that it has leveraged its antiviral development expertise by using its proprietary technology and drug delivery platform to launch a second COVID-19 program with additional antiviral compounds developed.
In a statement, Sam Lee, Ph.D., President of COCP, had the following to offer:
We are aggressively developing novel coronavirus protease inhibitors for COVID-19 prophylactic and therapeutic use. These drug candidates bind to a highly conserved region of the active site of SARS-CoV-2 protease that is required for SARS-CoV-2 viral replication. Our high-resolution x-ray cocrystal structures further confirmed the specific covalent interaction with this conserved region of the proteases of the coronaviruses SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV viruses.
We believe that, due to their novel mechanism of action, our protease inhibitors are likely to be effective against new variants of SARS-CoV-2. This may include the recent variants first identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil and India, which may be more contagious forms of the virus and may evade immunity produced by vaccines or previous infection.
The above statement was followed up by Gary Wilcox, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO at Cocrystal. Here’s what he had to say:
Public health officials are calling for the urgent development of potent antivirals that inhibit the replication cycle of SARS-CoV-2. Among the significant challenges scientists face is inhibiting viral replication without damaging the inner workings of healthy cells. Cocrystal’s approach to drug discovery could provide a solution for designing antivirals for use against a range of viruses, including coronaviruses, with limited off-target interaction.
Our established, proprietary drug discovery platform is comprised of computation, medicinal chemistry and x-ray crystallography together with extensive knowledge of viruses and drug targets. This is a far different approach from traditional, empirical, medicinal chemistry approaches that often require iterative high-throughput compound screening and lengthy hit-to-lead processes.
Why The Stock Is Flying
The stock saw gains of over 5% yesterday, making it a strong trading day for the company. However, today’s more than 35% premarket gains blow yesterday’s growth out of the water. Why is it that investors are so excited?
One thing that traders pay close attention to when trading stocks is the float, or number of shares available to the public. For COCP, the float comes in at around 69 million. While that may seem like quite a few shares, it’s actually pretty minimal.
As a result, with the good news, demand has climbed dramatically, and these shares are being snapped up like hotcakes. So, the scales of supply and demand are being tipped, forcing the price to climb dramatically.
The Bottom Line
Cocrystal Pharma was one of very few companies that were looking at therapeutic options very early on while the masses were working to develop vaccines. As a result, it’s one of a handful that actually have something with significant promise that will treat COVID-19 infections.
That’s exciting news.
Now, with the company announcing that it has multiple development programs underway, there’s quite a bit for investors to look forward to, making COCP stock one to watch closely.