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Keryx: Readers React to Perifosine Prediction

The data we had from the Detsky paper looked at stock prices four months before the announcement of phase III trial results, so we emulated that timeline in our analysis. It's true that Keryx's market value was greater than $300 million at one time, but again, that doesn't drastically improve perifosine's odds based on our observations.

@dondet comments, "Ok, even if perifosine Ph3 will fail, that won't nec'rly cancel an EOY pps runup - w/median analysts' PT @ $9.00."

Does everyone understand Twitter speak? Translated: Even if perifosine's phase III study is predicted to fail, that won't necessarily cancel an end-of-year run-up in Keryx's stock price, especially with analysts' median price target set at $9 per share.

True enough. I'm not making any predictions about Keryx's stock price between now and when the company announces results from the perifosine study in the first quarter. Keryx is the sort of biotech stock with a near-term catalyst that traders and speculative investors love.

Bob Temple writes, "What you wrote this morning was very disappointing, not because of your thesis (it's true that most drug programs fail), but because it went against everything you have advocated to biotech investors for a long time -- reading beyond press releases, going through SEC filings, and ultimately doing your own homework. Deciding the probability of success based on the due diligence of Big Pharma doesn't sound consistent with that methodology. Also, having a partnership/buyer doesn't guarantee success either."

I appreciate your thoughts but the "Feuerstein-Ratain rule" is just another way thinking about cancer drug stocks. I don't mean to say that it should replace fundamental research. In fact, our thesis piggybacks on the fundamental research that we believe is done by the market i.e. investors and other, larger pharmaceutical companies. To coin a cutesy phrase, you can think of this thesis as a "meta-fundamental" analysis of cancer drugs.

I also agree that having a partner doesn't guarantee success. Aventis (SNY) was once partnered with Genta (GNTA). Takeda hooked up with Cell Genesys. Schering-Plough (MRK) partnered with Novacea. All resulted in cancer drug blow ups.

--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Adam Feuerstein.

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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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