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TheStreet Open House

Biotech Stock Mailbag: Vivus

@5redheads tweets, "Hate to ruin your day but Biocryst Pharmaceuticals (BCRX) reported positive results for gout trial. You probably missed it with your good news filter."

Snarky! @5redheads is my kinda guy. Biocryst also reported poor results from what was hoped to be a pivotal study of its lymphoma drug forodesine. The 11% response rate (all partials, no complete responders) in patients with advanced, refractory cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is nowhere close to being robust enough for FDA review, let alone approval.

Biocryst is also running into delays with U.S. registration trials for the flu drug peramivir. It now looks like the entire peramivir program is going to be delayed at least a year, if not more, because the company will have to go back to the southern hemisphere to enroll patients in the 2011 flu season, according to a downgrade report by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Thursday. (Reported cases of flu are low right now and the current northern hemisphere flu season is expected to be light.)

I'm still not a fan of Biocryst. The gout drug might be interesting, but the gout drug "space" is crowded, Biocryst's drug BCX4208 is behind competitors and the drug still has unanswered concerns about T-cell lowering. If you want to invest in gout, Ardea Biosciences' (RDEA) drug looks better.


I've been covering biotech investing for so long now, I thought nothing -- no matter how egregious -- could shock me anymore. Then, I opened an email from BFB:

"I read your two Rodman & Renshaw pieces, and have something that might amuse you. One of the companies there was Advaxis (ADXS). I have some shares (a lot fewer than before) but I didn't get around to reading the full SEC filings until it was too late. Anyway, a kerfuffle has erupted on the message boards for Advaxis because the filings revealed that the CEO has a history, not a pleasant one, with the SEC."

BFB's email contained some links, which is how I learned that Tom Moore, the former CEO of the failed, disgraced and now blown-up human blood substitute company Biopure, somehow managed to land another job in the biotech/drug sector as the chief executive of Advaxis. And Moore has been running Advaxis since 2006.

Wow. That is unfreakingbelievable.

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