Shares of Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc. rocketed 57.3% on massive volume in afternoon trading Tuesday, after the Boston-based biotechnology company announced a respiratory and ophthalmology collaboration with Roche Holding AG’s Genentech that could be valued at more than $1.4 billion. Trading volume spiked to a record 205.7 million shares, enough to make the stock the most actively traded on major U.S. exchanges, and compared with the full-day average of about 576,200 shares, according to FactSet. The collaboration and license agreement with Genentech is to discover, develop and commercialize respiratory and ophthalmology therapies using Pieris’s Anticalin technology. Under terms of the collaboration, Pieris will receive an upfront payment of $20 million, and is eligible to receive more than $1.4 billion in additional milestone payments plus royalties for commercialized programs. Pieris recorded revenue of $29.3 million in 2020, down from $46.3 million in 2019. Pieris’ part in the collaboration is discovery research and early preclinical development of the programs, while Genentech will be responsible for investigational new drug (IND)-enabling activities, clinical development and commercialization. The stock has now gained 16.4% year to date, while the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF has slipped 0.9% and the S&P 500 has advanced 11.8%.
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