NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- For the last six weeks or so, Keryx Pharmaceuticals (KERX) has been weighed down by concerns that its promising phosphate binder Zerenex suffers from weak intellectual property protection and may be ineligible for full market exclusivity. Keryx CEO Ron Bentsur has used presentation slots at various investor conferences to rebut these concerns, but the company's stock price hasn't fully recovered.
On Tuesday, Bentsur devoted a big chunk of time on Keryx's quarterly conference call to a point-by-point explanation of Zerenex's intellectual property position, which he believes is strong today, getting stronger tomorrow, and will not adversely affect the drug's commercial potential at all. Keryx shares closed Tuesday down 3% to $7.13.
Not everyone agrees with Bentsur. Listening to Tuesday's call was an institutional investor who is shorting Keryx shares because he believes Zerenex's patent protection is weak. He also believes previous FDA approvals of drugs with identical active ingredients as Zerenex will block Keryx's attempt at gaining key patent extensions or New Chemical Entity (NCE) status. Without strong patents and five-plus years of U.S. market exclusivity, Keryx won't be able to land a marketing partner for Zerenex, the Keryx short-seller says. Without a marketing partner, Keryx will be forced to sell Zerenex on its own -- a task the company will not do successfully. Keryx is very much the Amarin (AMRN) story repeating itself, this investor believes.
What follows is a virtual "debate" between Bentsur and the aforementioned investor shorting Keryx.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV