Biotech Stocks Day-in-Review: Oscient Works Better Deal For Factive

by: Centient Biotech Investor

Oscient Pharma (OSCI) climbed sharply higher after getting LG Life Sciences to agree to include all 40 countries of the European Union in a license agreement for the antibiotic Factive and to lower their royalty requirements.

Oscient in-licensed rights to Factive from the South Korean company LG Life Sciences, after the FDA issued a Not Approvable letter to previous-licensee GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) in 2000. Oscient subsequently won approval for Factive in 2003. Given the re-structured agreement with LG Life Sciences, Oscient will now seek a partner to market Factive in Europe. Previously, Oscient sold the Mexican rights to Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and the Canadian market to Abbott (NYSE:ABT). Factive is approved in the US for chronic bronchitis and community-acquired pneumonia. It has yet to win final approval in Europe. Oscient climbed 20%, rising 86 cents to $5.06.

Neose Technologies (NTEC-OLD) received word from BioGeneriX AG that the latter company will continue developing GlycoPEG-GCSF under their existing collaboration agreement. However, BioGeneriX will not exercise its option to use Neose’s GlycoPEGylation technology with an undisclosed BioGeneriX protein. Neose retains the rights to GlycoPEG-GCSF, which is undergoing Phase I tests in Europe, in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Japan. Beginning in 2007, BioGeneriX will assume the costs of development. Neose traded 4 cents higher to $2.33.

Nuvo Research, a Canadian biotech traded on the Toronto exchange (TSX:NRI), received an Approvable letter from the FDA for Pennsaid, a topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory used to treat osteoarthritis of the knee. The drug delivers diclofenac directly to the knee via topical application, minimizing side effects. Nuvo did not disclose what needs to be done to win final approval. Nuvo ended 2 cents higher at $.62.

Viragen (NASDAQ:VRA) out-licensed the rights in Australia and New Zealand for Multigeron, a treatment for malignant melanoma. Australia and New Zealand have the highest rates of melanoma in the world. Although financial details were not disclosed, Viragen estimates the deal may bring as much as $10-$15 million in revenue per year. The drug must first be approved in Australia and New Zealand. Viragen will also receive upfront and milestone payments. Viragen was off 2 cents at $.15.

The Centient Biotech 200™ fell 12 points in a slow, year-ending session, closing at 3922. That gave the index a net loss of 31 points for the year, which was just about a wash given that the drop netted out to be about eight-tenths of 1% over 250 trading sessions. In honor of the late President Ford, markets will extend their three-day holiday weekend for an additional day on January 2. Trading will not resume until Wednesday, January 3, 2007.

Disclosure: Author holds no positions in stocks mentioned