BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Pull up a six-month chart on Labopharm ( DDSS) and you'd think something bad happened to the Canadian drug maker in early February. The stock went from around $1.40 last November all the way to a three-year high of just a penny under $3 on Feb. 3. But just as quickly, the stock round tripped under relentless selling pressure and is now back to around $1.60.What happened in early February to trigger that much selling in Labopharm? Surprisingly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the company's new antidepressant Oleptro.
Staying with the theme of commercial launches of newly-approved drugs, Jugdeep S. asks about Fanapt, the schizophrenia drug owned by Vanda Pharmaceuticals ( VNDA) that debuted in the market in January and is sold by marketing partner Novartis ( NVS). "I am curious as to why you think we may need multiple quarters of Fanapt sales before we can understand where Titan and Vanda are going? If we hit big or lose big, wouldn't it justify a move along that route and why is it highly unlikely to see such moves," Jugdeep asks. Novartis announced first-quarter Fanapt sales of $21 million Tuesday in conjunction with the drug firm's earnings report. Novartis didn't offer any commentary on the Fanapt sales performance during its conference call. Vanda and Titan Pharmaceuticals ( TTNP.PK) receive a royalty based on Fanapt sales by Novartis; Vanda reports first-quarter financials on April 29.
I received an email dump of epic proportions after my dissection of the Serdaxin depression data from Rexahn Pharmaceuticals ( RNN) this week. Most of the responses were the shrieking harpy variety, but not all, including Rex W. who writes, "I understand why you're focused on Serdaxin but the great thing about Rexahn is that it's working on lots of drugs. I think the stock moves higher as Rexahn gets ready to release data on its other big drug, Zoraxel for erectile dysfunction." I have little doubt the penny stock promoters will be working overtime to move Rexahn higher in front of whatever Zoraxel data awaits, but be forewarned that Serdaxin and Zoraxel are the same drugs. The active ingredient in both is clavulanic acid, the old antibiotic-boosting agent. I argued persuasively for why investors should look askance at the Serdaxin data in depression, so color me equally skeptical about Zoraxel in erectile dysfunction. If and when Rexahn does provide investors with Zoraxel data, let's hope the company is more transparent than it was this week with the Serdaxin results.
Mark T. writes, "Thank you for all your wonderful insight into Cell Therapeutics ( CTIC). I was able to make some money on this stock because of your input. On another note, I am invested now in Celldex Therapeutics ( CLDX). Have you ever written about them? Can you provide us with some of your insight here? Is it the next Dendreon ( DNDN)?" Celldex's lead drug, CDX-110, is a cancer immunotherapy (so, a cancer "vaccine" cousin to Dendreon's Provenge) targeting glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) aka brain tumors as its lead indication. The data, to date, has been very promising albeit from small, uncontrolled studies, with median overall survival going out to 23-24 months. CDX-110 is partnered with Pfizer ( PFE), which refers to the drug as PF-04948568.
Speaking of Cell Therapeutics, I was pleasantly surprised to read so many supportive emails in response to my column suggesting that CEO Jim Bianco should resign for the good of shareholders. I'm still waiting for him to take my advice. George P. writes, "The Bianco piece is the best article that you have ever written. It should get a Pulitzer." Phil O. agreed. "Well done, Adam. Never owned the stock but appreciate the call to an incompetent CEO. We need more of this." Harry asks, "Out of curiosity, what is your beef with Cell Therapeutics if you don't own or short this stock? ... It seems you want to slime the guy with as much punch and venom as possible. Without reading the garbage on the message boards, let's hear it from you -- what's your beef?" I'm trying to prevent biotech investors from throwing their money away in a bad stock. Emails like this one from Gerald P. are the reason I write about Cell Therapeutics. "Great report, Adam. I watched my father lose most of his savings on this stock because a broker told him to buy in 2006 and buy hard. I have watched it over the years and it is frustrating. I hope your article saves some people some of their hard-earned money." Me too, Gerald. And thanks for your email. -- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston. Follow Adam Feuerstein on Twitter.
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