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Jaguar Health shares soar 40% in heavy volume, on track for 18-month high

Shares of Jaguar Health Inc., a developer of plant-based medicines for people and animals, soared more than 40% on Tuesday in heavy volume, extending their recent strong gains and putting the stock on track for its highest level since mid-2019.

There was no news propelling the stock JAGX, +14.06% higher, but Jaguar has steadily climbed since it announced a licensing deal in December with Canada-based specialty pharmaceutical company Knight Therapeutics Inc.  GUD, -0.56%,   in which Jaguar could receive up to $18 million in milestone payments.

The stock was last trading at $2.55, or up more than 200% in the year to date. In late December, it was still below $1. A full 209 million shares had changed hands by midday, or about five times the 65-day average of 39 million.

San Francisco-based Jaguar was granted U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 2012 for its Mytesi therapy, a treatment for noninfectious diarrhea in adults with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy.

The company is now working on other indications for the therapy, including diarrhea related to targeted cancer therapy; orphan‑drug indications for infants and children with congenital diarrheal disorders and short bowel syndrome; supportive care for inflammatory bowel disease; irritable bowel syndrome; and for idiopathic/functional diarrhea. In addition, a second‑generation proprietary anti‑secretory agent is in development for cholera, according to its website.

There are currently no research analysts on FactSet covering the stock, although Dawson James Securities covered it until April of 2020.

In early December, the company said it had been granted an extension by Nasdaq through March 10, 2021, to get its stock price back in compliance with listing rules, which require that it trades above $1 for more than 10 consecutive trading days.

In November, the company posted a net loss of $8.27 million, or 21 cents a share, for the third quarter, after a loss of $11.7 million, or $2.00 a share, in the year earlier period.

Revenue came to $2.8 million, up from $973,000 a year ago.

Jaguar has a wholly-owned unit called Napo Pharmaceuticals, which is developing products for international markets using plants that grow in tropical forests.

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