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Agenus Only Gets A Mosquito-Sized Bite of the New And Heralded Malaria Vaccine

If we split the difference and assume Glaxo's malaria vaccine sales total $1 billion -- that's vaccinating 100 million people -- Agenus' take is $15 million.

Glaxo believes the vaccine could reach the market in 2015. Tack on an additional 2-3 years and Agenus' $15 million in QS21 adjuvant royalties is worth about $2 per share today.

Agenus shares are more recently trading up 72 cents, or 26%, to $3.44.

Agenus boosters will point to the malaria vaccine as a positive first step. Another 15 drugs containing QS21 are in clinical trials, which could bring in additional royalty revenue if they're successfully developed and approved.

True enough, but the royalty rates on those other products is still low and the development risk is high. And as Xconomy points out today, a competitor is developing an easier-to-manufacture version of the QS21 adjuvant.

Agenus' long internal effort to develop a cancer vaccine, Oncophage, has been a bust and the company is in constant need of cash.

Bravo to Glaxo for its work to bring a much-needed malaria vaccine to the children of Africa. Agenus gets a hearty handshake for its contribution to the project but this effort is not worth anywhere close to a 60% jump in the company's stock price.

--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

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Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.
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