Chris M. is looking at other companies developing cancer vaccines, and he's stumbled across Antigenics ( AGEN - Get Report). "Volume is up and everything looks good, but going through its history -- yuck. What do you think?" Yuck is right. That pretty much sums up my view of Antigenics. Some investors are giving the company another look because of Dendreon ( DNDN). Antigenics' stock has gone from trading for less than $2 before Dendreon's Food and Drug Administration advisory panel to more than $4 soon after. (Antigenics shares closed Friday down 12 cents at $3.26.) Look, I understand the desire to find the next cancer vaccine rocket ship, but Antigenics' drug Oncophage has barely risen off the launch pad, let alone made it to orbit. Two phase III trials of Oncophage -- one in melanoma and another in kidney cancer -- failed. The company has attempted to cull positive data from various subgroups of patients in these trials, but the results, while positive, are not very reliable because all the work was done retrospectively. It's worth noting, too, that Oncophage has had manufacturing problems. In the melanoma trial, for instance, there was a 30% manufacturing failure rate.
Ben S. writes, "Adam, loved the
Richard A. read my Dor BioPharma ( DORB)
Moving off your letters to end this column, I wanted to provide some quick updates on companies I've covered: Flamel ( FLML): The Coreg CR launch by partner GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK) only kicked off in late March, so it's hard to accurately gauge success so far. That said, the early prescription trend data for Coreg CR that I've seen are encouraging. Array BioPharma ( ARRY): Not a lot of news from its quarterly conference call. The company is in the process of raising money in a 7-million-share follow-on offering. The multiple cancer and inflammatory drug programs continue to move forward on schedule. A couple of new drugs should also enter human clinical testing later this year. Exelixis ( EXEL): Reinitiated its study of XL999 in non-small cell lung cancer, as expected. The company reports first-quarter results next week, but the more relevant news will come later this year when we get new phase II data from a few of its cancer drugs.
Please note that due to factors including low market capitalization and/or insufficient public float, we consider Antigenics, Dor BioPharma and Osiris Therapeutics to be small-cap stocks. You should be aware that such stocks are subject to more risk than stocks of larger companies, including greater volatility, lower liquidity and less publicly available information, and that postings such as this one can have an effect on their stock prices.