Health Discovery (HDC) is working on a urine-based genetic test for prostate cancer, along with partners that include Quest Diagnostics ( DGX), Clarient ( CLRT) and Abbott Labs ( ABT). That much from Biomedreports' recent coverage of the company is true. Unfortunately, more of what was reported by Biomedreports about HDC contained factual omissions and exaggerations that distort both the timeliness of the company's prostate cancer test as well its near-term commercial potential. HDC's urine-based test doesn't appear to be close to clinical validation or commercialization, according to checks I made with HDC's partners. And even if a convenient and accurate urine-based gene test for prostate cancer was launched soon, it would not replace the widely used, if flawed, PSA blood test -- certainly not right away, according to cancer experts. Trading in Health Discovery (HDC) surged on Jan. 29, triggered by a Biomedreports alert to its paying subscribers that morning: "... speculation centers on news surrounding the company's new gene-based molecular diagnostic test for prostate cancer -- which has successfully completed its phase III double-blind clinical trial and is now ready for commercialization. The new prostate cancer test will be performed at Clarient's clinical laboratory in Aliso Viejo, Calif. HDC will receive 30% royalty on each test performed," the Biomedreports alert stated. By the close of trading on Jan. 29, HDC's stock price rose 6 cents, or 27%, to 28 cents a share. The intraday high reached 31 cents. More than 12 million shares traded hands, 12 times the average daily trading volume in the stock.
Mike M. emails to ask about why Amgen ( AMGN) sold off after announcing positive results from the latest cancer study involving its bone drug denosumab. Sell on the news. Amgen shares traded higher going into the Feb. 8 announcement, so when the "d-mab" data were released demonstrating that the drug works better at delaying and reducing the risk of bone fractures compared to Novartis' Zometa in patients treated for prostate cancer, investors took profits. The positive results from this d-mab study were very much expected. If you're following Amgen, here are some important dates and events to keep in mind:
- The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is holding an advisory committee meeting on March 24 to discuss guidelines for the use of anemia drugs to treat chronic kidney disease patients.
- In early second quarter, Affymax (AFFY) is expected to release results from a series of phase III studies of its potentially competitive anemia drug Hematide.
- Sometime in the third quarter, Amgen will announce results from an important study of d-mab investigating whether the drug can prevent bone metastases in prostate cancer patients.