Carson K. asks, "Can you interpret the stocks which did best at the hepatitis C conference last week?" Gilead Sciences ( GILD) emerged as the clear winner from the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) annual meeting, says healthcare investor and TheStreet contributing columnist Nathan Sadeghi-Nejad. Nate attended the EASL meeting in Barcelona last week. His assessment and grading of all the major hepatitis C drug stocks is published this morning, so definitely take a look. In addition to Gilead, Nate thinks Idenix Pharmaceuticals ( IDIX) and Abbott ( ABT) come out of EASL stronger, while questions swirl around Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY) and Achillion Pharmaceuticals ( ACHN). Vertex Pharmaceuticals ( VRTX) was a definite EASL loser, he says. For more detail, please check out Nate's comprehensive EASL report.
@JonathanNovak1 asks, "Do you really think Vanda Pharmaceuticals ( VNDA) is a takeover target or were you referring to retail speculation?" Jon is referring to a Thursday tweet of mine riffing off GlaxoSmithKline's unsolicited bid for Human Genome Sciences: "Inevitable takeout rumors you will hear today, if not already: $NVS-$VNDA, Bayer-$ONXX, Eisai-$ARNA, $DNDN-take your pick"
On a related topic, Ronald R. asks, "What's your assessment of the Human Genome Sciences ( HGSI) situation. Will the company be purchased for a higher price and by who?" This isn't a unique view by any means, but I agree with the consensus that Glaxo is almost certainly the only logical buyer for Human Genome and that Glaxo can raise its $13-per-share bid. Obviously, the market thinks the same since Human Genome shares closed Friday at $14.36. How much higher will Glaxo go with its bid? The "consensus guess" I hear from some on the buyside is $16-17 per share.
@US_proptrader asks, "Adam, what are your current thoughts on DNDN?" I'm a long-term Dendreon ( DNDN) bear, mainly because I'm in the camp who believe Provenge use in the pre-chemo setting will be eclipsed by Johnson & Johnson's ( JNJ) Zytiga and later Medivation's ( MDVN) MDV3100. I'm skeptical of the "sequencing" argument -- using Provenge sequentially with Zytiga or MDV3100 -- espoused by Dendreon bulls, especially in the absence of clinical data demonstrating a benefit to this approach. A survival benefit of four months or more with Zytiga or MDV3100 in pre-chemo prostate cancer patients will be a hindrance to Provenge growth. We'll see the first Zytiga data at the ASCO meeting in June.
@mintysaffron asks, "How does $SVNT look to you?" Savient Pharmaceuticals ( SVNT) has been justifiably hammered for under-performing sales of its only product, the gout drug Krystexxa. 2011 net sales totaled $6.3 million -- very disappointing. Consensus for 2012 sales stands at $35 million, which seems high given the current run rate. Savient ended the year with $170 million in cash but the company is also saddled with $175 million in convertible debt due in 2018 -- so net cash is actually negative.
@aschneidermd asks, "Do you think VVUS gets Avanafil approval? If so, any price-per-share estimate?" Vivus ( VVUS) more than likely gets Avanafil approved but beyond being a short-term trading event, I'm not sure the erectile dysfunction drug is worth much. Avanafil belongs to the same PDE5 inhibitor class of drugs as Pfizer's ( PFE) Viagra and Eli Lilly's ( LLY) Cialis, except it's more selective, which means it works faster. How much "speed to erection" really matters is up for debate. Vivus doesn't yet have a marketing partner for Avanafil, but better find one soon (and with deep pokets) if the company has any hope at all of making a dent in the market share of Viagra and Cialis. At this point, analysts who cover Vivus aren't putting much weight behind Avanafil, certainly not compared to the potential of the company's obesity drug Qnexa. Wells Fargo has $9.4 million in Avanafil royalty revenue (not end-user sales) in 2013. Similarly, Lazard has $12.4 million Avanfil royalty revenue in 2013, growing to $13.4 million in 2015. For the record, Avanafil's approval is forecast by 76% of the contestants in my FDA Drug Approval contest. The top six contestants are all predicting approval.
@CKtalon asks, "Approximately when do you think the discussion questions for $ARNA Adcomm will be released? Thanks!" The FDA is convening an advisory panel to review Arena Pharmaceuticals' ( ARNA) obesity drug lorcaserin (for the second time) on May 10. The FDA's "briefing documents" -- including the agency's medical review of lorcaserin and the questions to be discussed and voted upon by the panel's experts, will be released publicly on May 8. --Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Adam Feuerstein. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/adamfeuerstein. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.