On a conference call last week, Keryx executives said Zerenex's patent estate is strong but issue of the drug's NCE status was not brought up. Like Amarin, Keryx is expected to seek either a partner to help sell Zerenex once approved or seek a buyer for the company outright.
JMP Securities analyst Jason Butler came to Keryx's defense Monday. "While we acknowledge that this issue [NCE status] may remain a topic of debate this week, our initial view is that it is chemically distinct from ferric ammonium citrate, and we maintain our view that currently issued patents will provide marketing exclusivity at least through 2022... Our view is that Zerenex qualifies as a NCE and will receive five years of marketing exclusivity in the U.S. and the issued method-of-use patent (U.S. 5,753,706) will be eligible to receive up to five years of patent term extension. As such, we are confident that Zerenex will have patient protection up to February 2022. Furthermore, we view the demonstration in the long-term Phase III trial of ESA and IV iron reductions with Zerenex as a novel and unexpected finding and anticipate that there may be an opportunity to build further patent protection around these data."
On Friday, an institutional investor long Keryx shares called the IPD report "bogus" and said his due diligence checks left him confident that Zerenex was eligible for NCE status.
Interestingly, another investor, more bearish on Keryx and skeptical about Zerenex's commercial potential, agreed, saying the NCE concern was overblown.
$KERX: I spoke w/ bull & bearabout Zerenex NCE "controversy" -- both thought issue was overblown, not likely to be a problem.— Adam Feuerstein (@adamfeuerstein) February 1, 2013-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston. Follow @AdamFeuerstein
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV