Biotech Clinical Trials Updates: Biogen, Abbott and Adolor

Includes: ABT, BIIB, MRK
by: Roger Newman

This is one in a series of articles that highlight recent clinical trial updates for new drugs in the FDA approval process. A brief overview of the FDA approval process can be found here.

Biogen Idex (NASDAQ:BIIB) and Abbott (NYSE:ABT) reported top-line results from a Phase 2b trial to evaluate the compound daclizumab high-yield process (DAC HYP) in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. DAC HYP met secondary endpoints for a reduction in the cumulative number of new lesions present and the relative number of patients who relapsed. DAC HYP also showed improvements in quality of life at the one year mark. DAC HYP has the added benefit of a convenient once-monthly administration. Annual costs of MS in the U.S. total $13 billion including loss of income and treatment (which alone runs about $47,000 per patient per year). BIIB and ABT are both multi-billion dollar major pharmaceutical companies trading on the NASDAQ and NYSE respectively.

Adolor Corporation (ADLR) reported top-line results from its two Phase 2 studies of ADL5945, an investigational compound being evaluated for the treatment of opoid-induced constipation (OIC). OIC is the most frequent side effect associated with long-term opoid therapy. Estimates of the prevalence of OIC range from 15-90% of patients receiving opoids for non-cancer pain (the wide variation in reported instances can be explained by the varied methods of measurement, see here. At any rate the scale of the problem is quite large as evidenced by the over 325 million opoid prescriptions written worldwide in 2005. In 2010 alone, there were over 130 million prescriptions written for Vicodin. ADLR has a market cap of just over $100 million with 113,000 shares sold short, or less than one day to cover.

These clinical updates are short summaries and should be used as a basis for further research. You should always perform your own due diligence. Many factors can affect whether a particular drug candidate will ever come to market or be profitable and biotech investing should be considered high risk.

Disclosure: I am long ABT.