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More Biotech Twitter Mailbag: Orexigen, Affymax, YM Bio, Spectrum & More


The last third of anemia drug sales comes from small- and mid-sized, independent dialysis clinics. These guys don't get the sweetheart Epogen discounts from Amgen that Davita and Fresenius enjoy today so they're probably most open (and eager) for competition. Let's say Affymax can win a third of this bucket, or $200 million.

Peginesatide sales of $330 million at the end of 2015, of which Affymax receives half, risk adjusted at 90% given the looming approval decision, discounted back by 20%, yields a net present value of $73.7 million. Apply a five-times-sales multiple and you get an Affymax enterprise value of $368 million.

Please don't take these numbers to the bank but you get the idea.

Risks to the Affymax story: Amgen is an entrenched competitor that may be more difficult than anticipated to beat. Affymax and Takeda will operate the peginesatide business through a 50-50 joint venture; I generally don't like these setups because the smaller partner (Affymax) is at a disadvantage i.e. Onyx Pharma in its Nexavar joint venture with Bayer.

@HemPaddy: "Why is YMI so low profile even after showing GREAT results - Street is not buying YMI story?"

Referring to YM BioSciences (YMI) as "low profile" sounds like a polite euphemism for unloved? Ignored? Distrusted?

You ask a great question; unfortunately, I don't have a definitive answer. YM Bio shares at $2 have barely nudged higher since the presentation last December of strong phase II data on its myelofibrosis drug CYT387. The '387 data, particularly the positive anemia response, were strong, right? I thought so.

When I ask buyside investors about why YM Bio seems so unloved, I get responses like these:

We don't believe the anemia response data. We don't trust management given YM's poor track record. Why hasn't YM Bio been able to land a partner for '387? The company's recent financing was too dilutive. The company won't be able to enroll patients in its planned phase III study because Incyte's (INCY) Jakafi is already on the market. Who cares about a second-to-market myelofibrosis pill?

Some of these concerns are silly, others more reasonable but still defensible. Whether you're a true believer in YMI and '387 or not, the valuation gap between the company and Incyte is too large to ignore. I'm not sure if or when sentiment shifts.

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