This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Elan-Wyeth Alzheimer's Data Spook Bulls

(Editor's note: Come see Adam Feuerstein at the Money Show in San Francisco. Adam will be speaking to attendees on Friday, Aug. 8, at 2:15 p.m. ("Biotech Investing for Individuals: How to Turn Geeky Science Into Fat Profits"); on a lunch panel on Saturday, Aug. 9, at 12:35 p.m. ("Tech and Biotech: Picks and Pans for 2008 and Beyond"); and on Sunday, Aug. 10, at 8 a.m. ("Biotech Investing for Individuals: How to Turn Geeky Science Into Fat Profits").

Updated from 8:35 a.m. EDT

CHICAGO -- The coronation of bapineuzumab as the future king of all Alzheimer's drugs has been put on hold.

Elan (ELN) and Wyeth (WYE), co-developers of bapineuzumab, entered Tuesday's presentation of phase II data at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease brimming with confidence.

After more than a month of speculation, researchers, the public and Wall Street were finally going to see the clinical data that would clearly establish bapineuzumab as the game-changing treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Skeptics, including short-sellers of Elan shares, were going to be vanquished once and for all.

By Tuesday night, however, the script had been rewritten. The presentation of the bapineuzumab data was weak, the results were underwhelming and inconclusive. Far more questions about the future of the drug were raised than were answered.

Investors reacted accordingly, selling Elan and Wyeth shares sharply in after-hours trading. In recent trading Wednesday, Elan was sinking $12.21, or 36.2%, to $21.54, and Wyeth was losing $5.05, or 11.2%, to $40.06.

As I did back in June when Elan and Wyeth first announced top-line results from the phase II bapineuzumab study, let's dissect the big issues affecting the drug Tuesday with a hypothetical Q&A.

Those are some strong words you use above to describe the bapineuzumab data presentation. Aren't you being a bit harsh?

Not really. Let's get real here. This phase II study failed its primary endpoint rather convincingly. Patients treated with bapineuzumab showed no improvement in either cognition or function compared to placebo.

So, what did Elan and Wyeth do with these negative results? They essentially threw them out and rewrote the rules of the study in order to find groups of patients who responded. First, the two companies changed the statistical analysis plan. Second, they broke down and analyzed the data for efficacy based on a post-hoc subgroup comparing patients who are carriers and non-carriers of the ApoE4 gene, a genetic variant that increases a person's risk for developing Alzheimer's.
1 of 4

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
ELN $0.00 0.00%
MYGN $36.00 0.00%
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
FB $117.58 0.00%
GOOG $693.01 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs