This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
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

Biotech Stock Mailbag: Immunomedics

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The Biotech Stock Mailbag went AWOL last week. My apologies. I'm back and kicking off this week's Mailbag with an email from EK Watt on Immunomedics (IMMU - Get Report) and its experimental lupus drug.

EK asks, "Can Immunomedics be the competitive killer in lupus to Human Genome Sciences' (HGSI) Benlysta?"

Human Genome's Benlysta has about a three-year head start on Immunomedics' epratuzumab (e-mab, for short), so EK's question is difficult to answer. Data from a phase II study of e-mab in lupus patients will be presented at a European rheumatology conference on June 19. The Belgian drug firm UCB is running the e-mab lupus program under a license from Immunomedics.

The research abstract for the e-mab phase II lupus study was made available online Wednesday night. Lupus patients treated with 2,400 mg of e-mab reported a 43% response rate compared with a 21% response rate for patients treated with placebo. Response was measured after 12 weeks of treatment. E-mab doses of 200 mg, 800 mg and 3,600 mg also were studied.

Here are two views of the data contained in the abstract, first from a health care fund manager who is long Immunomedics. (His firm's compliance rules bar him from speaking publicly.)

"The data look pretty good and interesting with three caveats -- the highest dose was dead negative, did nothing, not even a trend. Also, the statistics are post-hoc (UCB never had a statistical analysis plan since this study was dose-ranging). The original press release issued in August 2009 had no p values and Immunomedics was criticized for this, so they did some albeit post-hoc. Finally, these results are driven by small numbers of patients.

The study is a very simple design -- get standard of care and then either e-mab or not. The drug appears to work more quickly than Benlysta -- 13 weeks and well-tolerated. The highest dose, though, is a head scratcher... I think the data are overall positive and I think the data are real -- but very little comfort when predicting the phase III data since such small numbers."

Avik Roy, health care analyst with Monness Crespi Hardt, presents the bear story on Immunomedics and the e-mab lupus data. Roy has a selling rating on Immunomedics and he lowered his price target to $1.50 after the e-mab lupus research abstract was posted Wednesday night.

> > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll

1 of 7

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
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!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
ACAD $38.03 0.00%
DCTH $1.03 0.00%
CYTX $1.11 0.00%
CYCC $1.01 0.00%
IMMU $4.12 0.00%

Markets

DOW 17,826.30 -279.47 -1.54%
S&P 500 2,081.18 -23.81 -1.13%
NASDAQ 4,931.8150 -75.9760 -1.52%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs