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Biotech Stock Mailbag: Synta, Zogenix, Sarepta, Amarin

Omthera seems like the kind of company which goes public because the more favorable option -- being acquired by a large pharmaceutical company -- wasn't happening.

The publication of another study this week showing no cardiovascular benefit for fish oil supplements is equally problematic for Omthera as it is for Amarin, as I pointed out Thursday.

Speaking of, "pschwimm" emails to complain about my bearish view of Amarin:

Your article stinks as usual Adam. You're the type of person that runs into a movie theatre and yells fire. In the confusion someone gets trampled to death. The police confront you and you say yes, there was a fire in the trash can in the lobby. It's not my fault someone got killed. You need to have a basic understanding of chemistry before engaging your brain and attempting to write any articles of a technical nature. Stay away from writing articles like this. It will, has caused you to lose much credibility in the media. You're essentially a laughing stock. If you get anything at all, get this, here's where your lack of basic chemistry, oh that's right you were a political science major... Vascepa is derived from fish oil, algae, fish eggs, omega 3 comes from various sources. Vascepa is a purified EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid). Calling Vascepa Fish oil is like calling the gasoline or diesel fuel petrol, which one is it? Vascepa is not a fish oil, it is derived from fish and certain plant. Also the article and the study was flawed, Dr. Topol is an academician, he may have a title of MD but that doesn't make him an expert by no means.

Interesting analogy. Not sure it makes any sense, but thanks for sharing.

Thursday night, Amarin reported first-quarter Vascepa sales of $2.34 million, operating expenses of $62.4 million and a net loss of $62.2 million. That's an expense-to-sales ratio which better improve soon or Amarin won't be around very long.

On my story about the origins of the patent issues confronting Repros Therapeutics (RPRX), Patrick S. comments:

No NCE + crap patents = no partner

Patrick's observation is a good one. The active moiety of Repros' Androxal is the same as clomiphene, approved for decades, so FDA will not be bestowing the testosterone-boosting pill with five years of marketing exclusivity under New Chemical Entity status. Repros, meet Amarin.

The strength of Repros' Androxal patents is still up for debate. Harry Fisch, the New York fertility doctor, believes Repros' main Androxal patent is weak and will be quashed if challenged. Repros, obviously, believes otherwise.

What's interesting (to me, at least) is that Repros has not yet landed a Big Pharma partner for Androxal, despite promises that one would be secured before the start of phase III studies. One of the phase III studies is complete and the other nearly so. My guess is Repros, like Amarin, is having a tough time making the case for Androxal's intellectual property protection. Without, Repros won't nail down a deal.

-- 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.
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