Baker Bros. Makes Another Fish Oil Bet After Scoring With Amarin Boom

(Bloomberg) -- Baker Bros. Advisors LP is making another bet on fish oil after hitting the jackpot with Amarin Corp.

The biotech-focused investor bought nearly two million shares of Matinas BioPharma Holdings Inc. in the third quarter, amassing a stake worth about $2 million. Baker Bros. has already reaped massive gains from a growing position in Amarin, whose heart pill Vascepa has taken Wall Street by storm. Matinas is developing a similar medicine that is also derived from fish oil to combat triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood.

The disclosure of Baker Bros.’ stake plus a positive FDA advisory panel for Vascepa on Thursday were a double dose of good news for Matinas investors. The shares rose 16% at 12:19 p.m. in New York as the company’s market value swelled to about $169 million. For comparison, Amarin is worth $8.2 billion, up from just $818 million back in September 2018. Baker Bros. remains Amarin’s top holder despite selling more than a million shares in the third quarter.

Baker Bros. Makes Another Fish Oil Bet After Scoring With Amarin Boom

BTIG analyst Robert Hazlett wrote in a Thursday note that the panel backing “augers well” for Matinas’s MAT9001’s positioning as the medicine has shown some superior triglyceride-lowering compared to Vascepa. The company is conducting another head-to-head study compared to Vascepa that should have data in late 2020.

Baker Bros. manages close to $14.7 billion, according to filings, making its Matinas position among its smallest holdings.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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