Companies Under The Radar of a Talking Head

Two of my previous blog posts mentioned the FDA’s decision on diabetes drugs’ fate, curiously and inevitably I also looked at the stock prices of the companies hammered or bolstered by FDA’s announcement.  Recently, a famous/infamous self-proclaimed financial guru talking head did a week-long report on several biotech/pharma companies facing upcoming FDA decisions or having new development reports in the conferences.  I thought for educational purpose, it is no harm to learn the characteristics of some diseases and drugs available on the markets.  No stock recommendation implied, buyers beware!

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic multifactorial disease diagnosed in ~350,000 Americans in 2009 whose central and peripheral nervous systems, eyes, and bladder are affected.  Drug sales reach $10 billion and estimated number will reach $15 billion in the next 10 years.

  • Biogen Idec’s Avonex is an interferon beta-1a drug to slow down the progression of disability in MS patients.  Side effect of liver injury has been reported.
  • Merck Serono’s Rebif is also an interferon beta-1a drug.
  • Bayer’s Betaseron is an in interferon beta-1b drug for the treatment of relapsing remitting MS.
  • Teva Pharmaceutical’s Copaxone is a class of medications called immunomodulators.
  • Novartis’ Gilenya is a sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor modulator and has fewer side effects than Biogen Idec’s Avonex.

Type I and II Diabetes: In the US alone, 23.6 millions adults and children have diabetes, which accounts for 7.8% of population; by 2020, estimated 38 millions adults and children will be diabetic.

  • Sanofi-Aventis’s Lantus is once-daily injected insulin.
  • Amylin Pharmaceuticals/Alkermes/Eli Lilly’s Bydureon (once-weely injectable version of Byetta) was rejected by FDA on 10/19/2010 due to increased heart attack risk.  According to Bloomberg:

Lilly markets Byetta outside the U.S. and co-markets it with Amylin in the U.S. The drug was developed by Amylin, and the technology enabling it to be used in a longer-acting form was developed by Alkermes. Alkermes will receive royalties of about 8 percent on Bydureon sales.

Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the US.  It is estimated one-thirds of deaths could be avoided with early regular screening.  About 5 millions colonoscopies performed in the US this year, 30% of market shares could capture $1.2 billion.

Hepatitis C virus infection is transmitted by blood that affects about 3% (~170 million) people worldwide.  HCV infection is the most common cause of liver failure in the US.  No treatment is available and existing treatments made patients feel worse.

  • BMS/ZymoGenetics’s PEGylated-interferon lambda
  • Vertex Pharmaceutical’s Telaprevir
  • Pharmasset’s PSI-7977 is an oral uridine nucleotide analog polymerase inhibitor of HCV.
  • Merck’s Boceprivir is a protease inhibitor.

Orphan Diseases, also known as rare diseases, affect fewer than 200,000 people in the US.  There are estimated 5000-7000 orphan diseases existing worldwide.

  • Genzyme’s Cerezyme to treat Gaucher’s disease and Fabrazyme to treat Fabry’s disease.
  • BioMarin Pharmaceuticals’ Aldurazyme and Naglazyme are used for enzyme replacement for mucopolysaccharidosis.
  • Alexion Pharmaceuticals’ Soliris to treat rare, progressive, and life-threatening blood disease paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.

Until next post, keep on reading and writing!!

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About fdabiomed
I like to read, organize, and write about biomedical related topics. I am passionate to learn new things, particularly news related to the Food and Drug Administration's decision and announcement.

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