A Game Changer in Cancer Treatment


Nausea and vomiting, common side effects of chemotherapy, may soon be a thing of the past. Heron Therapeutics’ (NASDAQ:HRTX) drug Sustol significantly reduced symptoms in patients participating in late stage trials, according to the company. The stock jumped more than 60% on the news in part because the study showed the drug works longer than current treatments.

Eight out of every 10 people treated for cancer using chemotherapy experience waves of nausea, according to the American Cancer Society.  Many patients suffer in the days following chemotherapy after initial treatments wear off.

CEO Barry Quart told FOXBusiness his team, “Went after an area of unmet medical needs,” adding that the drug can ward off the effects of chemo for up to five days following treatment, longer than rivals. “We feel very good that we have been able to differentiate our product.” He believes Sustol is more effective than the current leading drug Aloxi, made by Helsinn Healthcare S.A.

Sustol, which is part of a three-drug regime, is injected about 30 minutes before chemotherapy and is typically administered in oncology centers.

Quart said the company will file an application for approval with the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) in a “couple of months.” From that date, the FDA could issue a decision in as little as six months. If approved, Quart says the company can have the drug available in a month or two and plans to hire a new team of sales reps nationally.

Rahul Jasuja, managing director at Noble Life Science Partners, says there is a “95% chance the FDA approves Sustol.” He forecasts the drug could generate $850 million in sales by 2021 and believes the stock can rise to $29.00 a share, a 49% jump from current levels.

This will be the company’s third attempt to win approval for Sustol, having been rejected by the FDA twice. Quart is confident the third time will be a success.

Heron Therapeutics is not yet profitable. In the 1Q ’15 the company posted a net loss of $20.6 million or $0.70 cents a share. Quart declined to offer sales projections for Sustol but did add, “This is a great day for patients.”