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The Biotron Limited (ASX:BIT) share price is up 800% in just two weeks

The best performer on the Australian share market this month has been a little known Australian drug development company by the name of Biotron Limited (ASX: BIT).

Two weeks ago the Biotron share price was trading at 1.9 cents, whereas today it is currently priced at 17.2 cents. That’s a staggering 805% gain in the space of just two weeks.

What does Biotron do?

Biotron is engaged in the research, development, and commercialisation of drugs targeting viral diseases with unmet medical need.

Its BIT225 drug is its lead candidate and is in clinical development for HIV-1. In addition to this, the company has several early stage programs designing drugs that target a class of virus protein known as viroporins. These viroporins have a key role in the virus life cycle of a very broad range of viruses such as Dengue, Ebola, Middle East Respiratory virus, Influenza and Zika.

Why has its share price rocketed 800% higher?

The catalyst for this incredible share price rally has been positive news relating to its BIT225 drug.

At the end of last month the company announced a successful outcome to the BIT225- 009 Phase 2 trial of its lead drug BIT225 in HIV-infected patients in combination with current antiretroviral drugs.

Management advised that the data demonstrated that there are significant immunological benefits in patients receiving antiretroviral drugs with 200 mg BIT225 compared to antiretroviral drugs plus a placebo.

Overall, the headline results indicate that BIT225 has had a profound effect on a source of virus that persists in the presence of antiretroviral drugs. Management has stated that the eradication of this virus, produced by long-lived reservoir cells, is central to an eventual HIV cure strategy.

Biotron managing director, Dr Michelle Miller, said: “We know that antiretroviral drugs do NOT clear cellular reservoirs. HIV-infected people have to take drugs for their lifetime to keep virus under control. This trial shows for the first time that there may be a way to clear one of the main cellular reservoirs. This is a major step to the ultimate goal of curing HIV-1 infection.”

The company aims to present detailed data at scientific conferences and to potential commercial partners in late 2018 to early 2019.

What now?

I can’t say I’m surprised to see it shares rocket higher on the news. If BIT225 can help cure HIV-1 infection then it would undoubtedly be a very valuable drug.

But there is still a long road ahead, let’s not forget. Because of this, I think investors ought to keep Biotron on their watchlists and monitor it for further developments.

In the meantime, I think industry peers CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) and Mayne Pharma Group Ltd (ASX: MYX) could be worth considering.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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