Kurt T. asks, "Will you be updating your article from this morning about Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI)? I'm interested in hearing what the CEO had to say." Spectrum CEO Raj Shrotriya called me Wednesday afternoon to answer some questions about the company's cancer drugs Fusilev and Zevalin that I had emailed to him earlier in the day. He also wanted to talk about my recent columns raising concerns about both drugs. My inbox is awash in angry email since last Friday when I dared to question the ability of Fusilev to compete in the colon cancer treatment market once generic leucovorin is reintroduced later this year. And Spectrum fans were doubly pissed when I harped on the poor sales of Zevalin in the first quarter. What you may not realize is that Shrotriya and I are old buddies. I've been covering Spectrum for years, going back to the unfortunate Satraplatin-FDA debacle of 200X. On the heels of that setback, I was writing about the prospects for the enlarged prostate drug ozarelix. I gave Shrotriya my support when he engineered the buyout of Zevalin from Cell Therapeutics and offered him a shoulder to cry on when Fusilev's colon cancer application was rejected the first time around. The notion, therefore, that I'm a serial Spectrum basher is nonsense. But I'm also not going to sugarcoat problems when I see them. And right now, I see challenges ahead for Spectrum. With that, here's a recap of my chat with Shrotriya: He's bullish on Fusilev in colon cancer, naturally and reiterated to me his belief that the drug can generate peak annual sales of $200 million with the colon cancer indication. When does he seek Fusilev reaching $200 million in sales? Shrotriya wouldn't say, nor would he give more detailed guidance for the rest of this year. He acknowledges that generic leucovorin will return the market but he insists that doctors prefer the reliability and ease of use of Fusilev so much that they won't switch back to generic (and far less expensive) leucovorin even if the opportunity presents itself.
If we're not at the top of this frothy, speculative-crazed biotech market, we're damn close. How do I know? The Hostile React-o-Meter is spinning out of control on a daily basis. Rick writes, "Adam, were you beat up as a child? Do you hate society? Why are you so negative on legit drugs? You need to relax there my man. Investors don't really appreciate your humor with things comparing a sleeping pill to a royal wedding... "Listen up you angry little