Why Prothena Corporation PLC Shares Leaped Higher

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Prothena , a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing antibodies for the treatment of diseases caused by protein misfolding or cell adhesion, jumped as much as 13% after issuing a press release last night updating investors on the progress of PRX002, its experimental Parkinson's disease therapy.

So what: According to its press release, Prothena notes that it has dosed its first patient in a phase 1 double-blind dose-escalating study of PRX002. As per the norm for phase 1 studies, it's designed to test the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of PRX002. In addition, since it successfully initiated this study and dosed the first patient Prothena is now entitled to a $15 million milestone payment from collaborative partner Roche . As noted in the press release, Prothena, with its latest $15 million milestone payment, has earned $45 million from Roche with regard to PRX002's development thus far.

Now what: On one hand we have shareholders clearly excited that all of Prothena's hard work is finally paying off into actual clinical studies. We also have a mammoth global pharmaceutical giant in Roche partnered with Prothena, and lending hope that there may indeed be substance behind its lofty valuation. Then again, we have to keep in mind that this is merely the initiation of a phase 1 study -- or to make a baseball analogy, the first batter of the game just stepped to the plate. There's a long way to go before PRX002 should even remotely be on investors' radars. You'll also want to keep in mind that the ultimate success rate of Parkinson's disease therapies is pretty low. With that in mind, I'm perfectly happy sticking to the sidelines and watching Prothena from afar.

Prothena shares may have jumped today, but they'll probably struggle to keep pace with this top stock in 2014
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The article Why Prothena Corporation PLC Shares Leaped Higher originally appeared on Fool.com.

Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.The Motley Fool has no position in any companies mentioned in this article. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.

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