Archives — November 2012 back to current month (23)
"Biotechnology companies say they have been getting patents on genes for 30 years and can't attract investment dollars unless they can protect their research from competitors. The central legal question is whether isolated DNA is a product of nature and thus ineligible for patent protection."
Because margins in diagnostics and life sciences tools tend to decline over time, the industry is all about scale. The goal is either to develop novel products or tests with high profit potential, or to acquire them. Another strategy is to develop economies of scale through consolidation. In this interview with The Life Sciences Report, Kevin DeGeeter, senior analyst and director of healthcare research for Ladenburg Thalmann, has singled out five important companies with exciting business models or products.
The hepatitis C (HCV) market was white hot in 2011 and through the beginning of 2012, but investors have gotten the message that new HCV drugs are not going to rival cancer and cardiovascular drugs for profits. In this interview with The Life Sciences Report, analyst John Tucker of Sagient Research discusses a handful of stocks that could benefit from new, patient-friendly HCV therapies with enough revenue to propel shares upward.
Personalized Diagnostic Medicine Coming of Age (11/29/2012)
As little as a decade ago we were all thinking in terms of one blood draw being the be-all and end-all of diagnostics. With the first human genome sequenced, it would only require a panel of genetic, epigenetic, proteomic and small molecule metabolic markers. That was all we needed, we thought. Today it's clear that we got ahead of ourselves. Yes, the search is still on for the right biomarkers, but it’s going to be more about organizing the data and tying it together with history of present and past illness to render more definitive diagnostics. I spoke with Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Director of Health Care Research Kevin DeGeeter about this very topic.
Invest in the Great Progress of Hepatitis C (11/29/2012)
There are a lot of drug candidates in company pipelines for hepatitis C (HCV). In fact, your head could spin as you recite the product code number and letter combinations. I spoke with Sagient Research Analyst John Tucker who had just gotten back from Boston where he attended the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), known as "The Liver Meeting." Of course the focus and buzz around the conference was the most recent developments surrounding HCV. "There has been tremendous progress in that particular area and a lot of interest in that progress," he says. "At the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) meeting six months ago we really saw the first detailed presentations of treatment regimens without interferon, which is a very lengthy, uncomfortable and unpleasant process. This was an almost watershed moment at EASL."
"Gilead Sciences is sprinting ahead with initial positive results from a Phase 3 study for what could be a first all-oral combination therapy for certain patients with chronic hepatitis C virus in the U.S."
"Pharmas have a five- to eight-year period to 'maximize the molecule' by translating their R&D programs into value in the marketplace or risk obsolescence. That's an area where biotechs can potentially enhance the return on investment, particularly in technologies such as therapeutic vaccines, stem cells and tissue replacement."
Is Genetically Modified Food Killing Us? (11/26/2012)
"Opinion papers like this—while not to be confused with conclusions resulting from solid research—are a critically important part of the scientific process. Professors Carman and Heinemann provide a very important public good in challenging the strength of the due diligence process for RNAi's use in agriculture."
FSD Drugs Advance as Women Push for Equal Access (11/26/2012)
"The market for female sexual dysfunction (FSD) drugs is believed larger than the market for male sexual dysfunction treatments (estimates range from $4-5B), since the percentage of women with FSD between ages 18 and 59 (43%, according to some studies) is higher than that for men (34%)."
"The New England Journal of Medicine is not alone in featuring research sponsored in large part by drug companies—it has become a common practice that reflects the growing role of industry money in research."
Discovering how and why a famed natural resource investor would begin to apply himself vigorously to biotechnology stocks is fascinating. Take Michael Berry, founder and managing director of Discovery Investing, for example. Berry doesn't shy away from high-risk biotech plays because he loves the feel of hitting a grand slam right out of the park, even if that doesn't happen often. Berry brings his expertise toThe Life Sciences Report in this interview, sharing his best ideas and describing how he applies his Ten Discovery Investing Factors to some very sophisticated biotech companies.
"The potential for products--and profits--is tremendous. We're talking applications in medicine, electronics, construction and even aircraft."
The Long and the Short of DNA Sequencing (11/20/2012)
"With advances in second-generation sequencing technologies, genome studies have produced an explosion of sequence data at a fraction of earlier costs."
"Nanoparticles have many advantages. They can be readily produced in a laboratory and standardized for manufacturing. They would make the potential therapy cheaper and more accessible to a general population."
One (Biotech) Ring to Rule Them All (11/17/2012)
"We are just at the beginning of a biotech revolution that will astound and amaze. Enough said."
Getting Cancer Immunotherapeutics Approved (11/15/2012)
"While biologically based therapeutic cancer vaccines and other cancer immunotherapies have great promise in treating certain cancers, getting to 'yes' for FDA approval is likely to remain challenging."
Hugh Cleland has been testing his theory that life sciences companies can be had cheaper as stocks than as private venture capital investments—and that theory has been working out for him quite well over the past two years. In this interview with The Life Sciences Report, Cleland, portfolio manager and executive vice president at Toronto-based BluMont Capital, talks about his best small- and micro-cap ideas and also shares the "core/farm team" approach that he takes in his smaller, more conventionally structured fund.
"It's hard to say what the market could be worth, but Thomson Reuters reported that ABI Research forecast a market of $320M for bionic exoskeletons within 10 years."
If you're looking for fresh international names in biotech and medtech, but need the comforts of end markets on U.S. soil, the best ideas of RBS Morgans Ltd. Senior Analyst Scott Power might be for you. In this interview with The Life Sciences Report, Australia-based Power makes a case for important life science names with Australian origins and a U.S. presence that could present investors with huge upside.
Election Roundup: News from the Healthcare Front (11/08/2012)
With the reelection of President Barack Obama, the biggest reforms to hit healthcare in nearly a century are positioned to come online. Some provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) have already taken effect, but those remaining are likely to have significant impacts on the business of life science. Whether the reforms bode good or ill for biotech and medtech investors has yet to be seen. We've provided a few beats of the media and blog pulse below, and will keep you informed as developments unfold.
10 Top Women in Biotech 2012 (11/08/2012)
"Too few female professionals rise to senior executive roles in the biopharma industry, making the accomplishments of these women all the more exceptional."
Top 10 Best-Selling Drugs of the 21st Century (11/06/2012)
"GEN has put together a list of the top 10 best-selling drugs between 2000 and 2011. Are any of these in your medicine chest?"
The small biotech companies that have survived the last five years have learned to be lean, mean and efficient with shareholder capital. In this exclusive interview with The Life Sciences Report, Aegis Capital's Managing Director and Head of Equity Research Raghuram "Ram" Selvaraju discusses companies that have mitigated risk by giving new life and higher margins to products previously relegated to the dustbin of commoditized generics. He also highlights some very new and exciting developments in the realm of stem cell technologies and monoclonal antibodies that engage never-before-targeted molecules.
|"INO announced the publication of two preclinical studies of the company's plasmid DNA-encoded monoclonal antibody constructs in treating cancer and preventing infection from a pneumonia-causing bacteria."|
|"DRRX has received an upfront payment of $12.5 million, and is also eligible for $5 million in the event of FDA approval for Indivior's RBP-7000."|
|"We believe this newer Alzheimer's theory creates a path to develop a unique disease-modifying Alzheimer's treatment, PMN's PMN310, which has best-in-class potential."|
|RP's Phase 1/2a trial for tendon repair in chronic Achilles tendinosis met its goal and established a complete safety profile at six months that showed no serious adverse events."|