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
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Blood Sub or Not, Northfield's a Negative

Updated from 6:59 a.m. EST

I've received a good bit of email lately asking my opinion on Northfield Laboratories (NFLD) and its experimental human blood substitute Polyheme. The interest in Northfield was sparked by the company's Dec. 20 announcement that the FDA would review Polyheme for approval with a decision date set for April 30.

Northfield shares jumped from about 40 cents prior to the FDA announcement to more than $1. The stock closed Wednesday's trading session down 5.8% at 98 cents. Clearly, there's a contingent of retail investors out there who believe that the FDA, by accepting the Polyheme application for review, is signaling a willingness to approve the blood substitute despite its checkered history.

I wouldn't make that assumption at all. In fact, Polyheme has very little chance of being approved, in my opinion. This is not a stock I'd chase.

Northfield is trying to win a race to get the first human blood substitute approved where other companies like Biopure (BPUR) and Baxter (BAX) have failed previously.

It's been two years since Northfield first announced the failure of the phase III Polyheme study, but recall that the death rate for trauma patients treated with Polyheme was over 13% compared to a death rate of just under 10% for patients treated with saline and blood.

Scarier was the study's safety data, which went against Polyheme in every way measured. Patients treated with Polyheme reported more serious adverse events, more heart attacks and greater risks to the kidneys than the control patients.

Polyheme's fans tend to ignore the blood sub's dangerous safety profile and rationalize an FDA approval on the belief that Polyheme is the only thing that can save the life of a severely injured and bleeding patient when blood is not available.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

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
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

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

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, 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
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

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.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

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.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,943.81 +28.74 0.17%
S&P 500 1,967.57 +2.89 0.15%
NASDAQ 4,415.49 +19.2860 0.44%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs