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Why Sangamo Was Smart To Buy Ceregene

I would say there are zero expectations that Ceregene's Alzheimer's therapy will produce positive results in the ongoing phase II study (fully funded by an NIH grant, by the way.) That's why I said to ignore the drug. If it defies the odds and works, the program is pure upside to Sangamo's valuation. If the drug fails, investors shouldn't punish Sangamo at all.

All in, Sangamo was smart to acquire Ceregene. The deal was a cheap way to bring in gene and drug delivery technology that will help advance the company's pre-clinical programs.

Sangamo has two main value drivers. The HIV program will have the greatest effect in the near term, but longer term it will be driven by the many preclinical programs that are generally targeting monogenic diseases. While there is some excitement surrounding the HIV program (an update is coming later this week at the ICAAC meeting), I am not confident that Sangamo's approach to developing a "functional cure" for HIV has merit.

Despite my concerns with the HIV program, however, Sangamo's early-stage programs represent both lower hanging fruit and multiple shots on goals. This should limit the downside should the HIV program flame out. The Ceregene deal reinforces my view.

Sobek has no position in Sangamo.
David Sobek has been writing on biotech for a number of years through various outlets with a general focus on small cap oncology and antibiotics companies. He received his PhD in political science from Pennsylvnia State Univeristy in 2003 and a BA in international relations from The College of William and Mary in 1997.
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