Shares of Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. ACRS were up 25.4% on Jan 16 after the company announced the appointment of Neal Walker as the new interim chief executive officer (CEO). Walker will replace Douglas Manion, who stepped down from his role with immediate effect. He also served as the president of the company and was a member of the board of directors.
Walker is currently serving as the chairman of the company and is also a co-founder. He held the role of Aclaris' CEO until 2022.
Along with the leadership transition, Aclaris also announced a strategic review of its business for 2024, which is aimed at maximizing shareholder value.
Though shares rose on Jan 16 following the announcement, they are currently down in pre-market trading.
Shares of Aclaris have plunged 93.3% in the past year compared with the industry’s decline of 2.9%.
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research
As part of its business review, the company is actively seeking a partnership for the development and commercialization of its investigational topical “soft” JAK 1/3 inhibitor, ATI-1777. The candidate is being evaluated in a phase IIb study for treating atopic dermatitis (AD), also known as eczema.
Earlier this month, Aclaris announced top-line results from the abovementioned phase IIb study, which evaluated ATI-1777 in patients with mild-to-severe AD.
The study investigated ATI-1777 as a spray at concentrations of 0.5%, 1% or 2% administered twice daily, or a once-daily treatment of ATI-1777 at 2% concentration, compared with vehicle, in AD patients aged 12 years and older.
Though the study met its primary endpoint of statistically significant change in the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) score following four weeks of treatment with ATI-1777 2% administered twice daily, it failed to achieve statistical superiority.
This apart, Aclaris is developing its investigational oral covalent ITK/JAK3 inhibitor, ATI-2138, as a potential treatment for ulcerative colitis.
We note that Aclaris has faced multiple clinical setbacks in the recent times. The company is also undergoing a restructuring plan, implemented last month, wherein management plans to reduce its workforce by nearly 46%.
It remains to be seen how the CEO transition affects the company’s ongoing business operations along with its pipeline development activities.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Aclaris currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector are Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. REGN, CytomX Therapeutics, Inc. CTMX and Puma Biotechnology, Inc. PBYI, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
In the past 60 days, estimates for Regeneron’s 2024 earnings per share have improved from $41.57 to $43.96. In the past year, shares of REGN have rallied 29.4%.
Earnings of Regeneron beat estimates in each of the trailing last four quarters. REGN delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 12.34%.
In the past 60 days, estimates for CytomX Therapeutics’ 2024 loss per share have narrowed from 22 cents to 6 cents. In the past year, shares of CTMX have plunged 34.2%.
CytomX Therapeutics beat estimates in three of the last four quarters while missing the same on the remaining occasion. CTMX delivered a four-quarter earnings surprise of 45.44%, on average.
In the past 60 days, estimates for Puma Biotechnology’s 2024 earnings per share have improved from 62 cents to 69 cents. In the past year, shares of PBYI have risen 23.4%.
Earnings of Puma Biotechnology beat estimates in three of the last four quarters while missing the same on the remaining occasion. PBYI delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 76.55%.
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