As is often the case with small scale biopharmaceutical companies, news updates on experimental drugs can make or break a firm’s stock prices. The sparsely traded micro cap Tetra Bio-Pharma (TSXV: TBP)(OTCQB: TBPMF) dropped 20 percent today in a massive surge of trading volume after the company suspended a phase 3 clinical program because of impurities found in its drug investigation. The new drug, which was being given to patients and made from raw cannabis materials, was recalled and all patients involved were notified of the contaminants.
“In late spring 2018, Tetra initiated a study to monitor the microbial flora in its investigational product in order to validate the storage and drying process used in the fabrication of its investigational product. On December 20th the results of this ongoing study revealed the presence of the 3 mycotoxins in the lot of the investigational drug used for the clinical trials,” said a press release from the company. “Tetra communicated these findings within 24-hours of discovery to regulators and acted rapidly to ensure the safety and wellness of patients. As per discussions with Health Canada and the Ethics Review Board, Tetra contacted every patient involved in the ongoing clinical trials to suspend treatment and retrieve the investigational drugs.”
Although the company didn’t specify where this cannabis in question was purchased from, Tetra has a distribution agreement with Aphria Inc (CSE: APHA)(NYSE: APHA), with the later having done a separate financing deal with Tetra in the past.
Aphria is known for being a cheaper, low-cost producer of cannabis, especially with their Canadian facilities. Although questions regarding skeptical LATAM acquisitions have cast a lingering shadow over the firm, some held on to the hope that their Canadian operations would anchor down the companies worth. However, there have also been reports that the firms’ facilities are struggling to pass Health Canada standards.
According to Hindenburg Research’s scathing report issued back in December, the company said they spoke with a former worker at an Aphria facility who said that “We had a lot of issues with mold and right now the facility is infested with bugs. Every single room that has product in it in that (Leamington) facility right now has bug problems.”
While nothing is certain, some investors are connecting the dots and seeing Tetra’s contaminated product as a further worrying sign for Aphria, whose shares dropped 7 percent before climbing back up.
Tetra announced yesterday that they were set to acquire Canadian biotech company Panag Pharma to help accelerate its various drug development programs. It’s uncertain whether this setback will make executives reconsider this move.
Tetra Bio-Pharma Company Profile
Tetra Bio-Pharma (TSX-V: TBP) (OTCQB: TBPMF) is a biopharmaceutical leader in cannabinoid-based drug discovery and development with a Health Canada authorized, and FDA reviewed, clinical trials aimed at bringing novel prescription drugs and treatments to patients and their healthcare providers. The Company has several subsidiaries engaged in the development of an advanced and growing pipeline of Bio Pharmaceuticals, Natural Health and Veterinary Products containing cannabis and other medicinal plant-based elements. With patients at the core of what we do, Tetra Bio-Pharma is focused on providing rigorous scientific validation and safety data required for inclusion into the existing biopharma industry by regulators, physicians and insurance companies. – Tetra Bio-Pharma