This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Kudos to Keryx, but Can Zerenex Zing?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) --Congratulations, Keryx Pharmaceuticals (KERX - Get Report) . The long-term data on its phosphate binder Zerenex released Monday morning look very strong, sending Keryx shares higher by 43% in early trading.

Zerenex met the study's primary goal of reducing serum phosphate levels in kidney dialysis patients, which wasn't a surprise to anyone. More importantly, however, Zerenex demonstrated significant benefits related to increased iron stores and reducing the use of IV iron and erythropoietin-stimulating agents (ESAs) like Amgen's (AMGN - Get Report) Epogen.

It's these latter iron benefits that help Zerenex stand apart from other phosphate binders such as Sanofi's (SNY - Get Report) Renagel/Renvela, the market leader with nine-month 2012 sales of $640 million worldwide. (Sanofi reports year-end sales next month.) Based on today's study results, Zerenex should have an easy time being approved in early 2014. That's the same time period at which less expensive, generic versions of Renvela -- in addition to generic versions of IV irons -- will also become available to kidney dialysis clinics.

Keryx has long maintained that Zerenex can grab significant market share in kidney dialysis clinics even competing against low-priced, generic phosphate binders. During a conference call Monday, Keryx CEO Ron Bentsur said U.S. dialysis clinics could save $750 million annually from reduced use of IV iron and ESAs if they switched to Zerenex.

"Generic Renvela doesn't have the capacity to compete with the magnitude of these cost savings," said Bentsur.

AMAG Pharmaceuticals (AMAG - Get Report) CEO Brian Pereira once made similarly bold pronouncements about how his clinically superior IV iron therapy Feraheme was going to be grab significant kidney dialysis market share from its competitors. That never happened, which forced AMAG to all but abandon the kidney dialysis market.

Perhaps Keryx will buck the trend and convince dialysis providers like DaVita (DVA - Get Report) and Fresenius that they can save money by using a more expensive phosphate binder when cheaper alternatives are available. Monday's Zerenex data seem to bolster Keryx's argument. I'm not sure skeptics will be entirely convinced until Keryx lands a Big Pharma partner willing to shell out big bucks to license Zerenex, or the drug launches strong.

That's a fight for another day. Monday, Keryx deserves credit for delivering a clear win with the Zerenex clinical data, and in the process, helping erase the sting and stigma left from last year's perifosine colon cancer blowup.

Keryx shares are up 43% to $4.89 in early trading.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

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.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AMAG $57.29 0.00%
AMGN $162.59 0.00%
DVA $81.83 0.00%
KERX $12.70 0.00%
SNY $49.97 0.00%

Markets

DOW 17,712.66 +34.43 0.19%
S&P 500 2,061.02 +4.87 0.24%
NASDAQ 4,891.2190 +27.8570 0.57%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs