10 Biotech Stocks Facing FDA Judgment Day
Drug approval decisions by the Food and Drug Administration can be important stock-moving events. But putting together a calendar of these potential catalysts can be difficult.
The FDA's Web site isn't very helpful, and unless you have access to scores of sell-side research reports, you're pretty much on your own. It's no wonder I get a lot of email from readers asking for biotech event calendars.
Here's some help. I've put together a list of key upcoming FDA drug approval decisions for the rest of the year. This isn't comprehensive, but it does cover most, if not all, new drugs being developed by biotech firms. There are a few specialty pharma and Big Pharma drugs on the list, too.
Here are some of the more notable pending FDA decisions:Cephalon (CEPH)
Drug/indication: Nuvigil for improved wakefulness
FDA decision date: June 16 (a report of the decision may come Monday) Nuvigil is an important second-generation version of Cephalon's wake-promoting drug Provigil, which will soon go generic. With a longer half-life, Nuvigil is expected to remain effective longer, upwards of 10 to 11 hours vs. 6 to 7 hours for Provigil. Originally approved as a treatment for narcolepsy, Provigil (and soon Nuvigil) are used more commonly to combat shift-work fatigue, excessive daytime sleepiness and for people with sleep apnea. Neurochem (NRMX)
Drug/indication: Kiacta for amyloidosis
FDA decision date: July 16 An approval decision on Kiacta has been delayed since August 2006, when the FDA asked Neurochem for more efficacy data and indicated that the company should run another clinical trial. Neurochen chose not to do that, opting instead to give the FDA additional data from its existing clinical trial. Needless to say, Kiacta's approval -- yes or no -- is a controversial question.
| Do you think it's safe to invest in biotechs
ahead of FDA decisions?
Drug/indication: OrBec for graft vs. host disease
FDA decision date: July 21 When a May 9 FDA advisory panel voted to recommend against approval of OrBec, the drug's prospects took a significant turn for the worse. While the FDA doesn't always follow the advice of its panel, it's not likely to go the other way in this case.
|Expected FDA Decision Date||Company||Drug||Indication|
|6/15/2007||Encysive Pharmaceuticals||Thelin||Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)|
|6/18/2007||Gilead Sciences||Letairis||Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)|
|7/16/2007||Neurochem||Kiacta||Amyloid A Amyloidosis|
|7/21/2007||DOR BioPharma||OrBec||Graft vs. Host Disease (GVHD)|
|8/13/2007||Indevus Pharmaceuticals||Sanctura XR||Overactive Bladder|
|8/15/2007||GPC Biotech||Satraplatin||Prostate Cancer|
|8/26/2007||IDM Pharma||Junovan||Bone Cancer|
|10/7/2007||Theravance||Telavancin||Skin and Skin-Structure Infections|
|10/15/2007||Elan/Biogen Idec||Tysabri||Crohn's Disease|
|10/18/2007||Cardiome Pharma||Vernakalant hydrochloride (iv)||Dysrhythmia (Arrhythmia)|
|10/21/2007||Genzyme||Renvela||End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)|
|11/1/2007||Forest Laboratories||Nebivolol||Hypertension (Systemic)|
|11/18/2007||Basilea Pharmaceutica||Ceftobiprole||Skin and Skin-Structure Infections|
|11/24/2007||BioMarin Pharmaceutical||Kuvan||Phenylketonuria (PKU)|
|12/31/2007||Pharmacyclics||Xcytrin||Brain Cancer (secondary; metastases)|
|Source: Biomedtracker, analyst research reports|
Drug/indication: Sanctura XR for overactive bladder
FDA decision date: Aug. 13 Clinical data suggests that Sanctura XR is the best drug in the overactive bladder class, which is a billion-dollar-plus market and growing. (You can't watch network news without seeing multiple ads for overactive bladder drugs.) But therein lies the catch. Tiny Indevus and its not-so-much-bigger marketing partner Esprit Pharma have to figure out a way to convince doctors to prescribe Sanctura XR against Big Pharma competitors with very deep marketing pockets. GPC Biotech (GPCB)
Drug/indication: Satraplatin for prostate cancer
FDA decision date: Aug. 15 Satraplatin is the first oral (pill) formulation of the commonly used platinum class of chemotherapy drugs. The phase III satraplatin study in men with advanced prostate cancer was a success, it hit all its efficacy endpoints, and data has been presented at numerous medical meetings, including this month's American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.
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