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Vanda's Fanapt Deal Just Okay: BioBuzz

ROCKVILLE, Md. ( TheStreet) -- Vanda Pharmaceuticals (VNDA) found a partner willing to sell its schizophrenia drug Fanapt, but is this the deal the company and its shareholders really wanted?

Novartis (NVS) is the logical choice to sell Fanapt in the U.S., probably the only choice, since the Swiss drug maker used to own the Fanapt, licensed the drug to Vanda in 2004 but still controls significant financial rights.

An outright sale of Vanda to Novartis was the deal Vanda bulls dreamed about, which is why the stock traded as high as $16 a share this year.

But Monday's licensing deal is more problematic. The $200 million in cash Vanda receives from Novartis supports a base valuation of about $7 a share, but upside from there is now almost totally dependent on Fanapt sales.

Vanda won't disclose its sales royalty but hinted that it was in the mid-teens range. If you assume 15% and peak Fanapt sales ranging from $200 million to $400 million, Fanapt is worth between $4 a share and $8 a share to Vanda.

Add that to the cash from this licensing deal and Vanda's stock is worth $11-$15 a share.

Vanda shares were up 10% to $12.65 in recent Tuesday trading.

Let's give Vanda credit for its accomplishments. The company got Fanapt approved, a feat no one thought possible. And the company made the best deal possible for the drug's commercialization. Fanapt is launching into a very tough competitive environment for schizophrenia drugs, including lower-cost generics, but if the drug does very well, Vanda stands to gain more from an additional $265 million in milestone payments from Novartis.

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