The broader healthcare segment has enjoyed a buoyant session on Thursday, particularly with biotechnology firm Ocean Biomedical (NASDAQ:OCEA). Previously, Ocean co-founder Jonathan Kurtis filed for a patent “covering a therapeutic and prophylactic monoclonal antibody that kills falciparum malaria parasites.” Having now received a Notice of Allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the company anticipates issuance of a patent. This has in turn bolstered OCEA stock.
According to Ocean’s press release, a Notice of Allowance “is issued after the USPTO examines a patent application and determines that the applicant should be granted a patent from the application.” The company “anticipates that a patent will be issued by the USPTO from Dr. Kurtis’ application in the coming months.”
If so, the development should foster profoundly positive changes in global medicine. According to scientific journal Nature, “Malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum remains the leading single-agent cause of mortality in children, yet the promise of an effective vaccine has not been fulfilled.” However, Ocean Biomedical’s Kurtis has apparently “discovered and produced a monoclonal antibody that binds to PfGARP and triggers the malaria parasite to kill itself.” This development was built on Kurtis’ “groundbreaking discovery that PfGARP is potentially a highly effective vaccine target for malaria.”
All told, the implications of this breakthrough bode well for both medical research and OCEA stock.
Opportunity Awaits OCEA Stock, But So Do Risks
While malaria might not be a major issue for some nations, the globalized nature of modern society means that no one is perfectly safe from infection. Per Ocean’s press release, though, PfGARP offers potential as a “short-term prophylactic treatment to prevent malaria infection in travelers, overseas deployed military and government personnel, and individuals living in areas with short malaria transmission seasons.”
In addition, the underlying discovery here should help advance various other therapeutics. Dr. Kurtis had the following to say about the development:
“Inducing parasite cell death via targeting PfGARP is a novel approach that has potential to launch a whole new class of anti-malarials, including mRNA-based vaccines, small molecules and the current monoclonal antibody.”
Nevertheless, investors shouldn’t jump into OCEA stock without understanding the risks. In particular, Ocean entered the public market via a reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). While the practice of going public via combining with a blank-check firm saw increased popularity a few years ago, SPACs have suffered from a loss of interest more recently.
In particular, SPACs generally have not performed well following the conclusion of their business combinations. While OCEA stock has bounced dramatically higher today, prospective buyers should keep in mind that shares are also down 34% year-to-date (YTD).
Why It Matters
Two Wall Street analysts presently cover OCEA stock with a unanimous “buy” rating. Their average price target comes out to $13.20 per share. That implies upside potential of more than 90% based on current prices.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.