Happy New Year and welcome back to the Biotech Mailbag, version 2008.
Let's get right to your emails. D.M. writes: "Happy new year! I know your opinion of
in the $15's. How do you feel about it in the $10's?"
Medarex isn't a favorite stock of mine, but I do think it's more attractive at $10 than $15.
Clearly, the market sees through whatever positive spin Medarex is putting on the recent phase III
for its melanoma drug ipilimumab. The stock's drop to $10 is discounting the likelihood of near-term approval.
Ipilimumab as a monotherapy just doesn't seem to be effective enough on melanoma. Medarex insists that it will seek FDA approval based on the monotherapy data. I have no reason to doubt they will
, but I don't see investors giving them much credit for it. I think the drug's best shot at success in melanoma is in combination trials, which are ongoing.
From a fundamental perspective, and talking to institutional investors who were short Medarex going into last month's data release, I didn't get the sense that there was much of an appetite to stay short below $10. Medarex does have a deep pipeline and a long list of development partners, so there is some value here. Plus, there's always the possibility that Medarex gets acquired.