News on trends and issues in the biopharm and pharmaceutical industry. Commentary on current events,clinical pipelines, facility expansions, competition, technology, legal and economic matters. M&A and licensing activity across the globe.
I am a Director of Research and Devopment for a leading supplier to biopharmaceutical producers. The views expressed are mine. I do not speak for any company or corporation.
Genmab today announced that it has extended its development deal with Janssen for access to the former's DuoBody platform. Genmab will receive $2M upfront payments for up to 10 more programs. Additionally, it could net maximum milestone and licensing fees up to $219 M if all programs reached commercialization (yeah right). Any commercial products will also spawn royalties.
This new agreement essentially doubels the numbers of bi-specific antibodies that Janssen can choose to pursue. Janssen may have interests in applying these to cancer, autoimmune, infectious diseases and CNS diseases. Bi-specific antibodies dual targeting mechanism may improve both specificity and efficacy against disease targets. See FirstwordPharma.
Well, yes according to a updated report by Deloitte and Thomson Reuters. Their data analysis says that the 12 biggest spenders in R&D in pharma earned a modest 4.8% return on their investment. And that's down from last year's 7.2% and the previous year's 10.5%. As they say, the trend is going in the wrong direction.
What's worse? Well, I'll tell you. The report also claims that the costs of getting a new drug to market is up more than 18% over the same period. Right now, it doesn't look like improvement is on the immediate horizon. The average peak sales forecast has fallen from $816 M in 2010 to $466 M now, a 43% plummet.
The report further claims that drug developers are failing to reduce the cost of successful launches and in their rate of innovation. The report reiterates the advice that drug makers should reach to meet more "unmet medical needs", better preserve their R&D talent (instead of firing them all?), and taking advantage of the growing power of data analytics in decision making. Though the report also makes it clear that the top 5 companies have R&D returns greater than 7% while the bottom companies are producing a returns drag. The have's and have-not's if you will. See Fierce Biotech.
The Patent Doc blog reports that in its latest suit Myriad is alleging patent infringement against Invitrae this time for offering BRAC 1 & 2 genetic tests. Invitrae has responded with a suit asking for a declaratory judgment.
Patent Doc notes that Myriad has left several claims used in previous suits against genetic testing competitors out of this suit against Invitrae. The blog lists in exhausting detail all the various patents omitted and the claims that would have been previously cited from each.
The blog also notes that this curious omission may either reflect that Invitrae uses different methods in providing its genetic testing services or that Myriad may be changing its legal strategy in terms of what patent rights it asserts. Like its other suits, Myriad is asking the courts (in Utah) for a ruling of patent infringement, a preliminary and permanent injunction, an accounting and damages, delivery for destruction of all "products" that infringe any of the asserted claims, a finding of willful infringement, and a request for attorneys' fees, enhanced damages, and costs of suit.
Invitrae for its part filed a countersuit in California (like Quest and Counsyl before it) and seeks a declaratory judgment that its genetic diagnostic tests do not infringe any of Myriad's asserted patents and (or) that these patents are invalid. Invitae alleges that it "performs its sequencing using a very different approach" than the ways claimed in Myriad's asserted patents. In addition, like other defendants, Invitae invokes the Supreme Court (and Federal Circuit) decisions in AMP v. Myriad and the Supreme Court's Mayo v. Prometheus decision for its invalidity contentions.
"A vast portion of the landscape purportedly claimed by the Myriad Patents has been washed away in the wake of the Federal Circuit and Supreme Court’s decisions" in those cases, according to Invitae. Invitae also demands a jury trial, a declaration of non-infringement and invalidity and a finding that this is an exceptional case entitling Invitae to attorneys' fees and costs.
In summary, Myriad has now sued Ambry, Gene-to-Gene, Quest, GeneDx, and Invitae in Utah. Quest, Counsyl and Invitae have asked California courts for declaratory judgment.
In the Pipeline discussed an analysis of the "freshness index" from FirstWord Pharma. The freshness index is a measure of what percentage of a company's drug sales -- from say the last 5 years - is of total sales. In this analysis, sales of drugs introduced to the market after 2010 were measured as a percent of total sales. In theory, a higher freshness index means more sales are comping from new drugs and the company's future growth prospects are more rosy. It could also be taken to suggest a healthier new product pipeline (whether R&D or acquisition).
The rankings showed J&J (23.4%), Novartis (17.8%) and Novo (13.6%) were the top 3 ranked companies in this post 2010 ratings war. The bottom 3 included Sanofi (2.7%), GSK (2.3%) and Eli Lilly (0.8%) as the three trail dogs. Lilly in particular is really a hurting buckaroo. So it is clear that near term revenue contributions are much healthier at the top three companies than at the bottom three.
But I wonder if that is really the whole picture -- particularly for some of the companies in the middle. The index is skewed to just the past couple years for new products. Also, the index can be influenced by both positive new product growth and old product decline. I suppose if your oldest products were dying fast enough that could create an enhanced impression that your new products were better contributors than might be the case. But under either interpretation, Lilly looks bad. Might be more like the "staleness index" for them.
An FDA advisory committee gave BioMarin's drug Vimizim the thumb's up for the treatment of Morquio A syndrome. This has spurred analysts to suggest that the acquisition activity for BioMarin will heat up. A William Blair company analysts says the biotech will command at least a $93 per share premium offer. This is about 35% above its closing price near $70 yesterday. That would represent a purchase price for the company around $13 B. The highest price that as been talked about in biotech since Genzyme was purchased for $20 B by Sanofi.
Supposedly big pharma companies like Pfizer or GSK are interested. But this would represent a price-sales ratio of nearly 17x as compared to the 5x ratio that was present in the Genzyme deal. Roche CEO, Severin Schwan commented that he doesn't know where these biotech valuations are coming from. He indicated that his company was "scratching its head". A Wedbush Inc analysts concurred with Schwan saying that a lot of companies might like to buy BioMarin but that it was too expensive. BioMarin recently projected posting its first profit in 6 years. See Bloomberg.
Biocon is closing on heels of Roche in India with a competitor to the latter's Herceptin. Earlier this year, Roche declined to pursue a patent extension for Herceptin in India when the India government presented it with the liklihood that it would also have to grant a compulsory license. Roche chose to abandon the patent and not provide and info under a license to competition.
However, a scant two months later, Biocon seems on the verge of introducing its own version of the drug to the market (in collaboration with Mylan). It is approved to make the drug based on its appearance on the Drug Controller General of India list.
Roche has been dropping the price steadily over the past year -- first with a 15% decrease in the price in India. Then after partnering with the India company Emcure Pharma, the price is now about 67% of the former price in the market. Analysts and public health groups though expect the price to drop even further after Biocon's product is for sale.
"We welcome the competition that this approval may bring and expect that the price of the drug woudl significantly reduce as generic launch ushers in and substantially increases access to millions of women living with breast cancer," said Leena Menghaney of medicine sans frontieres (a patient advocacy group). See Economic Times.
Biotech lobbyists are happier this morning in PA following that State's Senate committee approving a bill that would call for strict limitations on substitution of biosimilars -- thus making it harder. The proposed Bill still has to go to the floor to gain passage but is one step closer. Amgen and BIO both hailed the development as one that "will instill confidence in the utilization of biosimilar products among patients, physicians, and pharmacists."
Governor Brown in California struck down a similarly worded bill in the past few months. So far, no other States have passed such legislation except North Dakota. The GPhA, Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association, and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores all oppose the measure. They believe limits on substitution will only drive up costs. See Pharmalot.
The LifeSciVC blog today published the findings of a recent study by Correlation Ventures that aimed to examine whether returns for VC investors over the past 10 years (2003-2012) were higher than those achieved by investors in public equity markets or not. Thankfully, VC investors DID realize returns in ths period that were on average 36% higher.
Hopefully, this is not surprising if we all believe in market efficiencies. If not, VCs didn't make out, why would anyone bear the extra risk to earn lessor returns? That would be the REAL story if it were the case. Fortunately, it is not. See link for details.
The latest report from Tufts (to no one's surprise) confirms that the biotech drug market continues to grow and is now dominating new drug development. The report spews forth a series of updated facts:
Biotech drugs accounted for only 7% of revenue from top 10 drugs in 2001 but represent 71% of te top 10 revenue in 2012
Biotech drugs in clinical trials grew 155% in 11 years from 355 trials in 2001 to 907 in 2012 and Big Pharma is involved in about 40% of those
Biotech research spending increased from $10.5 B in 2001 to a whopping $103 B in 2012 (that looks like total pharma R&D spending to me but that's what report said)
Biotech drug product sales grew 353% between 2001 and 2012 to reach $163 B
The study authors note that the concept that pharma companies develop small molecules is no longer true. Both new technological development enabling these bio drugs and he closing patent window on small molecules has contributed to this shift. See PharmaTimes.
According to EP Pharma, the number of drugs approved by FDA in 2013 should end near 34 which would be fewer than last year's high of 43. But, significantly, the 2013 crop is projected to be worth more in peak sales figures at 5 years --- $18.7 B for 2013 versus $16.4 B for the 2012 cohort.
This will be largely due to introduction of drugs like Biogen Idec's $2.9 B blockbuster Tecfidera for MS and the assumed approval of Gilead's oral hepatitis C drug, sofosbuvir, $3B projected peak. The two drugs will account for nearly 32% of the total revenue from the 2013 class if things go as projected.
"Barring any upsets this will make 2013 a year to remember in terms of future blockbuster sales," said Lisa Urquhart, EP Vantage editor. See Fierce Biotech.
Today, Shire (Ireland) agreed to acquire ViroPharma (Exton, PA) for the tidy sum of $4.2 B -- a 27% premium on the latters share price and a multiple of 58x EBITDA. Wow, you say. Indeed.
Shire made the buy to gain control of ViroPharma's approved drug Cinryze to augments its own Firazyr for the treatment of hereditary angioedema. It alos makes shire less dependent on its big bread winner, Vyvanse for ADHD. This was Shire's 3rd acquistion of the year and its largest to date. In general, the market seems to accept the underlying strategy of building Shire's rare disease portfolio that will now command more than $2 B in annual revenues.
“With Cinryze, we will add another growth engine to our portfolio,” Ornskov, Shire CEO, said on a conference call, adding that the acquisition will help create a rare-disease business with $2 billion in annual sales. “It’s a deal that fits with our strategy of increased focus on high-growth specialty markets, particularly rare diseases.”
This is the big deal the market had been waiting for,” Savvas Neophytou, an analyst at Panmure Gordon & Co., said in a note to investors today. The purchase is “clearly at an eye-watering multiple but strategically very sound.” See Bloomberg and Pharma Times.
Remember back when Sanofi was trying to buy Genzyme how long the negoitations dragged on? In large part this was due to a dispute as to how to value Genzyme's MS drug, Lemtrada, that was at the time wending its way through the regulaory path. The final settlement reached by Termeer and Viehbacher on the potential value of CVRs was described in this post (BRBB Feb 2011) and states their potential value at as much as $14 per share in cash ---- BUT this was largely based on the value that Lemtrada ultimately generated after approval and how close it came to its predicted peak sales value of $3.5 B.
Now, Fierce Biotech is reporting this monring that FDA (pre) review panels are indicating that the safety profile on the drug may be so shaky that it will be unapprovable in the US market. This doesn't bode well for the CVR having that much value -- and anyway in the intervening time to get to market both Novartis' Gilenya and Biogen Idec's Tecfidera have taken the lead with oral MS drugs. So don't count on the rest of your $14 anytime soon.
Lilly is committing up to $1.8 B to partner with Pfizer on the development of tanezumab for pain-relief. The deal was announced months ago but the particulars just emerged in Lilly's Q3 filing. This is another instance where Lilly is going after a really big therapeutic application (e.g. Alzheimers) that is fraught with risk but also offer a potential big reward. Of course it is in a potentially very large market with a big medical need.
This sharing of development and clinical trial costs is likely to emerge as another model whereby big pharma can layoff risk with one another. Yeah, they have to share the reward but the rewards are very BIG and help outweigh the sharing, and the risk is also high and the sharing cuts ameliorates the big costs of potential failure -- which aren't trivial or even unlikely. In for a penny, in for a pound. No guts. No glory really apply here. But failure doesn't help ones stock price at all -- and both Lilly and Pfizer have had their share of late stage blow ups in recent years. See Fierce Biotech.
GSK used a crowd-sourcing contest to try to identify new drug candidates for further study (translational work). They picked 8 winning projects from submitters in Canada, UK and US. Winning selections included efforts with antibiotics, malaria, metastatic cancers, Leishmaniasis, male fertility, regulation and iron-overload diseases.
Certainly, this is a novel approach for BIg Pharma to run an open competition of this sort. One of the big challenges is how to deal with the IP issues raised. In this case, some institutions decided (e.g. UCLA) decided not to participate as the IP terms were viewed to be outside their policies. GSK believe s the looser upfront definitions on IP help make the program work -- and they have tried to build in mechanisms whereby collabnorators can quit projects and walk away with some value to continue work on their own.
It remains to be seen whether GSK can turn any of these 8 projects into products/revenue, but they are encouraged enough so far to be already talkng about a second competition. The first did draw 142 entries, across 17 therapeutic areas and represented scientists from 70 institutons. So more than a few are certainly willing to play. We'll also have to see if any big IP blow ups happen on the back side of these projects but for now, all's quiet on that front. And efforts are being applied to making the 8 projects work. Maybe efforts like this will help keep GSK ranked number one as described in the previous post? See Fierce Biotech.
The ratings firm Morningstar recently raed the top 11 big pharma companies based on 3 major criteria: 1) strength of development pipeline, 2) current product lineup, and 3) patent loss picture. Based on these criteria, GSK was crowned the current winner of this ratings war. The complee list of company rankings follows:
GSK - with oncology and respiratory pipeline being key strengths
Bayer - new approvals, steady piepline and relatively benign patent expirations
Sanofi - improving pipeline and good management of their cliff. good existing business.
Novartis - projected good sales from pipeline expected
J&J - new product launches and next pipeline elements rate well
BMS - strong-late stage pipeline but patent losses could produce some drag
Merck - new R&D strategy getting benefit of doubt and immediate pipeline good
AbbVie - Humira still carries day. Some good pipeline potential.
Eli Lilly - still banking on pipeline projects, especially dulaglutide for diabetes
Pfizer - new launches drew good marks, patent losses have been devastating
AstraZeneca - heavy patent cliff expected, mediocre pipeline, long term negative growth projected
That's how the analysts see it now. This of course will likely change year by year as drugs come and go in the pipeline and the real impact of patent losses can be tallied. See Fierce Biotech.
Corporate structures and strategies for competition are cyclicle. It wasn't that long ago that analysts were touting the virtues of Big Pharma companies being diversifed into diagnostics, animal heath, OTC, etc as it supposedly made them more recession resistant when the phama business was down.
Now we are entering (again) a phase where analysts would like to see many Big Pharma companies get back to their "core businesses". Thus, we've had Pfizer spin off animal health and drug delivery and Abbott split its diagnostics and pharma (now AbbVie) businesses in recent years. To continue in that vein, Merck is talking about divesting its animal health and consumer businesses. Now we have Novartis talking about ridding itself of animal health (notice a theme), consumer business, and vaccines. All of this woudl be done to make a stronger pharma business -- or so the theory goes.
As Novartis mulled this over in public, it's stock responded with a 1.4% jump yesterday -- as did Pfizer's and Abbott's back when they were planning similar moves. This is the new black or is it orange. There is no doubt that a significant number of analysts ae in love with this type of straegy at the moment -- and they will be only too willing to tout it as a masterstroke and pump the stock.
But to me, it is just another cycle that we will go through befor we get to the next inevitable round of diversification. While I suppose that a company that did divest assets, woudl in theory have a chance to reinvent itself as it were --- that would require it to do something strategic with the proceeds of the sale besides line its own pockets and those of its investors in the immediate term. Otherwise, nothing fundamentally has changed and any bumps will be short-term. See Bloomberg.
Besides, if everyone follows suit can it be that novel or groundbreaking?
Gazyva (guh-ZY-vuh) rode through the FDA today with an early approval as Genentech's heir apparent to rituxan for the treatment of CLL in combination with chemotherapy. This was Genentech's (Roche) fifth new cancer drug approval in the past 3 years as the company remains on a roll. The new drug extended median survival time (to 23 months) and also had a low risk of worsening the disease (or death) in any treated patients -- which is known as the hazard ratio of the drug.
The drug did have its unpleasant side effects but not enough to slow down its "breakthrough" status at FDA and its approval landed several weeks ahead of schedule. An FDA spokesman hailed the drug as an important new tool in the fight against CLL and lauded the Breakthrough Therapy Designation Program for making it possible. The new drug will cost approximately $41,300 per course of treatment per patient. See Xconomy for more.
Novartis is latest company to side for naming biosimilars consistent with current standards for international non-proprietary names (INNs). This is consistent with the stance taken by other biosimilar backers GPhA and Hospira. It is counter to the position taken by other innovator drug companies and their lobbies -- PhRMA and BIO -- who want to see distinct names given to new biosimilar drugs. Novartis says this is confusing and will only go to slow down biosimilar adoption (the real agenda of innovators). Novartis cites the following negatives for breaking with INN convention:
Any change to the current naming convention would undermine consumer confidence in biosimilar products, as well as the system at large.
Inconsistencies in naming would lead to medication and prescription errors, putting patients at risk.
IPP names are designed to identify the active pharmaceutical agent, not to distinguish between individual products.
With robust drug safety systems in place, there is no need to resort to name changes to differentiate products
So the debate continues and we all await word from the FDA as to what path they would recommend and/or implement. See Total BioPharma.
Don't know how I missed this post by Luke Timmerman yesterday, but he was highlighting an upcoming Xconomy sponsored conference called "Building Biotechs to Last". But the best part is that he used my home team Cardinals as the example for the principle -- which is basically having a sustainable model -- in the Cards case being able to constantly develop new talent and/or finding low priced players to augment the team. That way there never seem to be too many periods of drought where the team is not successful -- no matter which players are los to free agency, retirement or injury.
Of course, you know by now that the Cards were bested last night by the Boston Red Sox (congrats to Sox) -- but it was the Cards 4th appearance in the past 10 years -- winning twice -- and many of the other years were spiced with playoff appearances too. I'm sure "Building Biotechs to Last" will be a good conference -- but mainly this afords me the opportunity to plug the Cards (and their model) one last time this year. Thanks for an exciting season.
More from the legal frontlines in the Patent Docs blog in the ongoing saga of suits and countersuits among Myriad and a host of adversary companies. This time we're talking specifically about Ambry Genetics and Gene-to-Gene. In this case, the defendents claim Myriad is liable under antitrust law for filing sham lawsuits against them for infringement. Myriad says it is exempt and asks for a dismissal.
The defendants claim Myriad knows its infringement suit is invalid due to the recent Supreme Court rulings in Mayo and Myriad that would invalidate Myriad patents the defendents are supposedly infringing -- thus the claim the suit is a sham and not entitled to antitrust protection. Further they [defendants] have raised "substantial and detailed factual allegations" that the District Court must take as true in deciding whether to deny Myriad's motion.
Well, time to wait for the next Court decision to see where we go next.
Antibody drug conjugates have been hot due to their utlity in delivering a toxic payload to cancer cells without being nearly as damaging to surrounding normal tissues as convention chemotherapeutic agents. And with the approval of a couple of ADC drugs in the past year(s), many players are flcoking to this market. This has caused a surge in activity not only at pharma companies getting into the technology but also a host of CMOs who can product the linkers and conjugated drugs needed.
In just the past couple of weeks, Roche, Novartis, Lilly and Astrazeneca have all annouced investments into this technology. Carbogen Amicis and SAFC have also made additional investments in the space as CMOs for these valuable products. You can expect to keep seeing more activity in this area on the immediate horizon.
Here's a piece from Pharmalot blog that discusses whether the increased speed of FDA approvals is perhaps harmful. I read this post as it is a topic that I've frequently wondered about the past couple years. It seems like every other day there is an announcement for a company that has a new drug on an expedited FDA review path for an "unmet medical need" -- so much so that the club doesn't seem that exclusive. The post indicates that in 2012 that more than half the drugs approved by FDA actually went by an expedited path.
This article concerns a recent review of a cohort of 20 drugs FDA approved in 2008. It discusses the findings and what the possible implications might be as a result. So what did we find?
Efficacy testing on expedited review drugs versus "normal" path drugs was performed on only 1/5 the number (median) of patients for the expedited set (104 vs. 580 patients)
Expedited review drugs spent a median time of 7.7 months under review versus 13.2 months for normals. Duh? Isn't expedited review by definition shorter?
The number of patients exposed to the drugs during testing was much lower for expedited review versus normals (median 626 vs. 2133)
Moreover, drugs are supposed to go through post-marketing studies. Data shows for these 20 drugs, that of the 85 studies planned, only 26 were completed by Jan 2013, and another 8 were submitted for review. That means 60% of the studies have yet to be completed or submitted. Critics worry that this sets the stage for safey problems to emerge. However, this article doesn't present any known problems with this particular cohort of 20 drugs. Maybe there is a latent problem but it hasn't emerged yet in recognizable form.
Proponents of expedited review presumably are happy that new drugs are getting through FDA faster. There has been constant harping in the past decade by pharma and investors that the review process is too long and unpredictable. This of course has been aggravated by issues like "patent cliffs" and unproductive R&D departments. Now that this seems to be mitigating, we have those worried more about safety raising their concerns about the pendulum swinging too far. So your position likely has to do with your political leanings, commercial interests and tolerance for risk?
The question seems to be do we need to put in more safeguards now before a problem develops? Or do we wait to put in safeguards quickly once we spot an issue? That's the conundrum that has presented itself. Which side do you land on?
A new report from the Chemical Pharmaceutical Generics Association (CPA) predicts that the market for CRO/CMO services will grow from $72 B in 2012 to $136 B in 2017, a CAGR of 13.6%. The CMO segment is predicted to grow from $47 B to $93 B during this time span (14.6% CAGR), while the CRO segment will move from $25 B to $43 B (11.4% CAGR).
Currently the US has the greatest market share of CRO/CMO business at 33.7% but this is predicted to decline to only 24.9% over this time span. Western European groups are also expected to decline from 25% to only 17.1%.
The big growers in the next 45 years will be in Asia-Pacific region. India is predicted to grow from only 8.3% to a share of 21.3% to become the number two share country in the world. China is also predicted to grow rapidly from 12.2% to 19.2% (note china outstripped by India in this span). Both countries will thus glean larger share than Europe in the next 5 years. See PharmaTimes.
I'm not sure I believe all this from an absolute magnitude point of view but I think it is at least directionally correct. Go East Young Man Go East.
Luke Timmerman did a piece in Xconomy this morning about the best acquisitions by pharma during the last few years during the market recession. As he noted, biotechs did not have a good VC source of funds nor any real prospects of tapping the IPO market so were forced to play with the Big Pharma sharks. This resulted in some bargains for the big guys. Here are the top deals named by Timmerman during that period (2008-2012):
Onyx purchase of Proteolix for its drug carfilzomib (Kyprolis). Onxy parlayed their $276 M upfront investment into being purchased for $10 B by Amgen this year. I think most people would heartily agree with this one.
Gilead Sciences purchase of Calistoga Pharmaceuticals for its PI3 drugs for blood cancer at price of $375 M upfront plus milestones. This is now a hot therapeutic target and predictions are for $1 B plus in peak sales on the horizon. This one still has a ways to go to fully payoff.
BMS acquisition of Medarex for its "trail-blazing cancer immunotherapy franchise." If it pans out, the $2.4 B price tage might look cheap. But there are plenty of critics for this deal too and the final jury vote may hinge on the success or failure of the PD-1 based drugs in its pipeline. If these hit for a forecast $10 B in sales annually (or more), then the $2.4 B price will look like a bargain. It's still an IF.
Calgene acquisition of Avila Therapeutics BTK inhibitor for $350 M upfront plus milestones. This one hasn't proven itself in te clinic yet -- and its value is therefore largely inferred by its competitors having their lofty valuations based mostly on the possession of a BTK inhibitor too. This may well payoff but could also be group of companies with a treatment that doesn't pan out.
Roche investment of $46.8 B in Genentech for access to its cancer franchise. This one seems light years different than the deals above in magnitude. But so far the patnership has brought Kadcyla and Perjeta to market. Plus looming in the near foreground is "son of Rituxan", GA101. The company is also beginning to look at areas within neuroscience for its next stream of treatments. This one will have to be judged on a longer more historic timeline but looks good so far. See Xconomy.
Today's news discussed two biotech companies looking for potential suitor. The circumstances of the two -- Dendreon and Actelion -- couldn't be more different though. Dendreon's search for possible buyers stems from its inability to efectively sell its prostae cancer-drug, Provenge. As a result, the company has dwindled from a market cap of $7 B to one that is less around $400 M due to its missteps over the past few years since Provenge was approved. With its burn rate and lessening reserves, Dendreon has little choice. It remains to be seen however if there will be any takers. JP Morgan Chase & Co has been tasked with drumming up some bidders. See Bloomberg 1 & 2, and Xconomy.
The second story is that Actelion looks to be back on acquirers' short lists as it received approval for its new drug, Opsumit, for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Thus it moves from largely a one trick pony with Tracleer to a company with two revenue generating drugs -- sending its market cap up by $3 B this year alone. The Opsumit approval was much needed as Tracleer is scheduled to go off patent during 2015. GSK, Novartis and Bayer are all being mentioned as parties who might wish to purchase Actelion. Opsumit has been forecast to produce $2.2 B annually at its peak. Actelion also has a drug, selexipag in its pipeline in phase III which would create further interest if positive results were reported next year. Analysts say Actelion would fetch $13 B if selexipag fails and more than $20 B if it is a successful drug. See Bloomberg and Fierce Biotech.