Why Shares of Pliant Therapeutics Are Rising Tuesday

What happened

Shares of clinical-stage biotech Pliant Therapeutics (PLRX 12.00%) were up more than 14% as of 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday after the company announced positive phase 2a trial information for its lead therapy. The stock is down more than 12% so far this year.

So what

Pliant focuses on therapies to treat fibrotic conditions. On Tuesday, before the markets opened, the healthcare company said that its therapy bexotegrast met its primary and secondary endpoints after 12 weeks to treat the respiratory disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and the liver ailment primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Pliant said the therapy was well tolerated and reduced the enhanced liver fibrosis (ELF) score and collagen synthesis biomarker levels compared to a placebo. 

The company also said that the therapy helped stabilize patient liver chemistry, compared to a placebo, along with improved hepatocyte function and bile flow.

Pliant said the results give it confidence to continue trials and to also look at other pulmonary and liver indications for the drug.

Now what

Pliant offers plenty of potential along with the obvious risk for any clinical-stage biotech. Bexotegrast’s target market is quite large. The American Liver Foundation estimates that more than 100 million people in the U.S. have some form of liver disease, and the the drug has already received an Orphan Drug Designation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat IPF and PSC.

The company has three other drugs in its pipeline: PLN-1474, which is in a phase 2 trial to treat liver fibrosis associated with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH); PLN-101325, to treat muscular dystrophy; and PLN-101095, to treat solid tumors. The company said it had $555 million in cash as of June 30, enough to fund operations into the second half of 2026.

Jim Halley has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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