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Posted on 12 May 2011 | 3,620 views

Pharmasset – VRUS Up 1217% Since 2009 Bottom

Pharmasset (NASDAQ: VRUS) is a pharmaceutical company which develops oral therapeutics for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B (HBV), and hepatitis C (HCV). Share prices in Pharmasset surged on the back of analyst upgrades on the stock and an “Uptrend” rating from SmarTrend in early January which has sent their stock soaring over 120% since the Uptrend alert was issued.

Pharmasset, Inc. is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel drugs to treat viral infections. The Company focuses on the development of nucleoside/tide analogs as oral therapeutics for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Nucleoside/tide analogs are a class of compounds, which act as alternative substrates for the viral polymerase, thus inhibiting viral replication. The Company has three clinical-stage product candidates. It also has a series of preclinical candidates in preparation for clinical development. The three clinical product candidates include RG7128, PSI-7977 and PSI-938.

Pharmasset develops antiviral drugs to treat hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV. The company’s stock rocketed on positive data from a phase II study of its hepatitis C drug R7128 combined with interferon and ribavirin (the current standard of care for hepatitis C). R7128 — developed in a partnership with Roche has had some speculation that the Swiss drug maker could announce a “Merger” or “Buyout” of Pharmasset outright.

Back in November 2008, InterMune (Stock Symbol: ITMN) together with Roche and Pharmasset announced the initiation of INFORM-1, a dual combination clinical trial investigating the combination of two oral antiviral molecules in the absence of interferon.

Although Pharmasset technically has few tangible assets and zero marketable drugs, the company is currently in trials developing an oral therapy to combat Hepatitis C. Partnered with industry giants Roche and Bristol Myers Squibb (Stock Symbol: BMY), Pharmasset is significantly trailing its rivals in getting its drug to market. Merck (Stock Symbol: MRK) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Stock Symbol: VRTX) have already submitted their Hepatitis C drugs to the FDA for approval.

Pharmasset, Inc. (Stock Symbol: VRUS) + 1,217%

Pharmasset stock price has jumped from $8.13 per share on March 9, 2009 to $107.11 as of the close on May 10, 2011.

In the past 52 weeks, shares of Pharmasset have traded between a low of $23.56 and a high of $110.58 and are now at $107.11, which is 354% above that low price.

The stock market has been making an tremendous recovery from the market lows set during the Financial Crisis — on March 9, 2009 the S&P 500 index traded at 676.53 and has now climbed 680.65 points to close at 1357.18 on May 10, 2011 — over a 100% gain from the bottom but many analysts are wondering if the run will continue after such an explosive move into this two-year old bull market.

With stocks such as “Pharmasset” having staged a comeback over the last two years amid unstable economic conditions, investors should be able to pick up even more momentum when the economy generates higher levels of growth. The truth is, there could be considerable upside left in Pharmasset shares — even though it has increased over 12x in value during the last two years.

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