I think I've spent way too much Mailbag real estate on Cell Therapeutics this week, so moving on to an email from Canton T., who asks, "Does the positive data from Onyx Pharmaceuticals ( ONXX) in breast cancer increase the chance for a buyout from Bayer?" Yes, I think it does. Do I have confidence that Bayer will announce an acquisition of Onyx any time soon? No. Nexavar is a very successful cancer used to treat patients with kidney and liver cancer. While we lack details, the success of the phase II breast cancer study (which was randomized and controlled, by the way) points to yet another potential cancer indication for Nexavar. (Recall that studies in lung cancer and melanoma have not been successful.) If breast cancer can up the peak revenue potential for Nexavar by another $500 million or more, Bayer may finally decide that it wants to own 100% of the drug's rights, which means it would be time to pull the trigger on an Onyx acquisition. The reason I'm hesitant about this scenario playing out is that I previously thought Bayer would buy Onyx after Nexavar was approved for kidney cancer and then for liver cancer. Never happened.
Paul M. writes, "Adam, I appreciate reading your articles. Do you know of a website that would list the companies with pending drug approvals? I was not able to find the status of companies with drugs in the pipeline (phase 3) on the FDA website." The FDA Web site, unfortunately, is not the place to find a list of pending drug approvals. That information is not conveniently compiled in one place, unless you're willing to pay for it through a subscription research service. I have come across amateur efforts on the Web that try to compile FDA approval databases but I don't find the information reliable and these sites tend to exist solely to pump penny stocks. I try to compile reader-friendly lists of pending drug approvals on a semi-regular basis. The last such FDA approval calendar can be found here. I'll definitely try to update the list as often as possible, so stay tuned.
Next, an email from Joseph P. "Thank you for your great writing and informative articles. I always respect the fact that you write factual information and try and inform investors. I am wondering what your thoughts are on Hemispherx ( HEB) which is once again running wild in the past couple days on some teleconference call about their flu vaccine progress with the U.S. and other countries.
I hope I was clear there. Next up, Norman B. writes, "What do you think of Curis ( CRIS) and their joint venture with Roche? Do they expect results any time soon?" Roche (formerly Genentech) is a great partner for Curis. Genentech is a company with a phenomenal track record in cancer drug development, so the company's decision to license Curis' drug GDC-0449 is a significant endorsement.
Finally, I'll close the Mailbag with some hate mail because it's tradition -- and fun. I particularly liked this email from "Hawk" because I suspect he spent a lot of time trying to come up with a real zinger. "Adam, why don't you mow my lawn, you loser." At least he didn't call me a looser.