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Biotech Stock Mailbag: Amarin, Sarepta

This was a letdown to me. Not that I expected Amarin to pair last night's approval announcement with a spectacular takeout deal, but more clarity on commercialization would have been welcome. Amarin did say it will move ahead with plans to hire 200-300 sales reps in the fourth quarter and wants to launch Vascepa in the first quarter 2013.

As I've said previously, investors want Amarin to sell the company. That's the preferred exit strategy. Barring a takeout, a boffo partnership would be a legit consolation prize. If Amarin goes it alone with Vascepa's launch -- disaster.

@NRamos10 asks, "@adamfeuerstein Out of the drugs approved in past month, which of the follow do you believe has most upside? $ARNA $VVUS $HZNP $AMRN"

Horizon Pharma's (HZNP) Rayos -- also approved Thursday night -- has the lowest investor expectations in terms of sales. Personally, I don't see much reason to believe Horizon can deliver upside with Rayos but the stock will move much higher if it can. Expectations for Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA), Vivus (VVUS) and Amarin are already much higher.

If you're asking me which drug do I believe will deliver the most sales at peak, I'm going with Amarin's Vascepa from this group. Rayos isn't even close and the weight-loss pills -- Arena's Belviq and Vivus' Qsymia -- are over-hyped.

Matthew B. asks, "Your article on Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) was very interesting and as a stockholder, I want to know if you think that they are cherry-picking results? I know there were so few subjects in the test so the results can be easily manipulated. I'm hoping these are truly positive results not only for the company but for people who suffer from the disease [Duchenne muscular dystrophy]. I knew someone who had it and he suffered greatly before he passed. I've bought the stock at many different prices and feel there's more room to run and was interested if you thought so too."

I was very encouraged by the eteplirsen data announced by Sarepta this week. I used the term "breakthrough" in the headline of my story, which struck some as premature given the small size of the study and the interim nature of the results. Criticism acknowledged but the improvement in walking ability demonstrated by eteplirsen to date is dramatic and that's something to be genuinely excited about both for patients and investors.

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