This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
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

Biotech Stock Mailbag: Agenus, Aegerion, Ariad

I stand with the Aegerion bulls, mainly because the competitive risk posed by PCSK9 drugs isn't proven yet and at best is still 2-3 years away. Meantime, the Juxtapid launch continues to perform very well. Aegerion's second-quarter results were stellar and I expect more of the same when the company reports the September quarter results in November.

The biggest threat to Aegerion shares today is not PCSK9 drugs but increased investor expectations and the stock's red-hot performance year to date. Any squiggle can be an excuse for profit taking. AEGR Chart AEGR data by YCharts

In July, Aegerion raised its Juxtapid sales forecast for 2013 to a range of $30-35 million from $15-25 million. Current analyst consensus stands at $40 million for the year, the buyside "whisper number" is probably higher.

I expect another "beat and raise" quarter from Aegerion in November.

Juxtapid treats homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH), a rare genetic disease that causes extremely high and potentially fatal levels of cholesterol to build up in patients' blood. A year of Juxtapid therapy costs $295,000.

The PCSK9 drugs under development by Amgen and others look very promising for patients who have at least partially functioning LDL receptors but still can't keep their cholesterol in check with statins. HoFH patients are different. They have no functional LDL receptors at all which is why their cholesterol levels are sky high and life threatening. From the data compiled so far, PCSK9 drugs are not effective enough to have a clinically meaningful effect on HoFH patients. For this reason alone, Juxtapid's place in treatment is secure for now.

The competitive battleground between Juxtapid and PCSK9 drugs could be in patients with partially functioning LDL receptors i.e. heterozygous FH patients. But Aegerion has a lot more HoFH patients to treat with Juxtapid before that should be a significant concern.

On Thursday, David Sobek rebutted the Ariad Pharmaceuticals' (ARIA - Get Report) short thesis that I explained in last week's Mailbag.

Here's the rebuttal of the rebuttal from one of the investors shorting Ariad quoted in my piece:

"If that's the other side of the story, I feel very comfortable with my short position" in Ariad, he says.

3 of 4

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!
AMGN $164.30 0.00%
ARIA $8.56 0.00%
AGEN $5.16 0.00%
AEGR $25.91 0.00%
AAPL $126.37 0.00%


DOW 17,976.31 +263.65 1.49%
S&P 500 2,086.24 +25.22 1.22%
NASDAQ 4,947.4410 +56.2220 1.15%

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