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Biotech Stock Mailbag: Aveo, Anthera, Amarin, MAP Pharma

Stocks in this article: ANTHAVEOAMRNMAPP

What if the offer price for Amarin is $15 per share? Would this be acceptable? A 50% premium to the stock's current price is decent but is only on par with Amarin highs reached right after Vascepa was approved in July. Amarin executives and insiders sold $12 million of company stock at $13-14 per share right after Vascepa was approved, so why not sell the entire company for $15 per share?

David B. writes, "In response to your post on Amarin I am unsure what you mean when you say that Amarin will have a difficult time going against the deep pockets of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) when it comes to marketing Vascepa on its own. Vascepa is clearly a superior product when compared to Lovaza (which you always fail to mention). I think doctors would be negligent to prescribe Lovaza when there is a superior alternative out there with no harmful side effects (which Lovaza has.)"

Prescriptions for triglyceride-lowering fish oil pills are flattening and some doctors, buoyed by new research, are now questioning the drugs' cardiovascular benefits, reports Forbes' Matt Herper. His column, Could a Fish Oil Backlash Wash Out Amarin? is very much worth reading.

@hakujin, "Your cherry-picking of data, what was said in conference call et al, is sublimely low-brow journalism, fitting of AF."

Drew writes, "You suck at writing. You don't know bleep and you look like an idiot."

@mthester writes, "You are gonna be the laughingstock of Wall Street when Amarin gets bought out."

@garbucci asks, "Please dude, can you give me a some kind of idea of what is going on at Anthera Pharmaceuticals (ANTH)? It's still getting punished. Is their drug that bad?"

Anthera shares are down 90%, making it the worst performing biopharma stock in 2012. A phase III study of Anthera's cardiovascular disease drug varespladib was halted for futility in March. In June, the company's lupus drug blisibimod came up lame in a phase II study. While Blisibimod demonstrated some positive response trends among certain lupus patients, the mid-stage study overall was a failure.

The few supporters Anthera has left believe blisibimod could be as effective, perhaps more so, than Benlysta, the lupus drug developed by Human Genome Sciences and later acquired by GlaxoSmithKline. Unfortunately, Benlysta is a mediocre lupus drug and a commercial flop. At $3 billion, Glaxo way overpaid for Human Genome.

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