Seeking Alpha
Profile| Send Message| ()  

Dendreon Corp. (DNDN) might be a great company to invest in. Immune enhancement therapy is a very much needed way to fight cancer. Provenge (Sipuleucel-T), Dendreon's prostate cancer treatment, is safe and effective, according to the FDA and many clinical trials. It is supposed to give men with prostate cancer (PCa) another treatment option. But that has not really happened yet. Dendreon must take a leading edge approach to maximize the potential of Provenge by doing everything possible to see that men at all stages of the disease can be treated with it.

Men diagnosed with PCa are faced with options, most of which are not very good. A radical prostatectomy (RP) is often a cure--if done in time. Currently, there is no way to know for sure, ahead of time, if surgery will get rid of all of the cancer. Even if surgery is successful, a long and painful recovery awaits the patient. Impotence and incontinence are common and sometimes permanent side effects. Other treatments include chemotherapy and/or radiation, both with damaging side effects, often without good results. Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is used to fight PCa by virtue of chemical castration. The side effects of this treatment include increased body fat, decreased muscle mass, osteoporosis, bone fractures, impotence, liver damage, vastly increased risk for developing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Except for surgery, ADT, though not a cure, is pushed harder than any other therapy, and currently is a prerequisite for even being considered a candidate for Provenge. Men with aggressive, high risk PCa at any stage should never be excluded.

Dendreon currently REQUIRES that patients have metastatic/ hormone refractory PCa to receive Provenge. So far, this is the only type of patient they've sought to try Provenge on, the patients least likely to benefit. What PC patient could get excited over the prospect of having to be sick, really sick, just to qualify for a clinical trial? The ADT treatments themselves contribute heavily to this 'end stage.' And getting survival benefit data involves waiting for patients to die, then concluding those patients would have died sooner without Provenge. Not the best strategy. Patients need a resolution without all the collateral damage caused by treatments required. Investors need something more conclusive than a few more months of survival benefit. If Provenge turned out to be a cure all DNDN investors would reap huge benefits--so would patients.

No man wants prostate cancer, no man wants radical prostate surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or hormone therapy. If a man does get PCa, he would wish for something that might help him avoid these damaging treatments. That something is Provenge, which may be a cure, or at least a stop of disease progression. This can only be determined by also giving it to men who have not had treatment, and who are therefore still healthy and strong enough to benefit.

Let's suppose a PCa patient has recently been diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer, 10 of 12 cores positive, gleason score of 8, PSA of 14 at time of biopsy. Patient decides to wait a year, no treatment, PSA is now 30, patient is given the standard Provenge regimen. Even if patient's PSA remained at 30 a year later, this would be more encouraging than any data gathered so far. And what if this patient's PSA actually began to drop or disappeared altogether? Imagine hundreds of scenarios like this and the positive impact it would have for DNDN shareholders, and more importantly, for PCa patients. On these types of patients, the PSA blood test could easily gauge the results and true value of Provenge.

Is Provenge a cure? Can it stop PCa in its tracks? These questions go unanswered and will never be answered using current strategy. Dendreon ought to take a leading edge approach and test Provenge on those most likely to benefit. A good place to start might be with men who were denied access to previous clinical trials on the basis of not having advanced, hormone refractory and/or metastatic PCa. This stage of illness is the very thing Provenge should be used for to prevent--not require.

DNDNIndustry Range DNDNIndustry Range
Current Ratio8.620.2362.62Return on Equity-79.92%-8.7K99.35
Quick Ratio7.730.2362.62Return on Assets-42.08%-270.4368.03
Total Debt/Equity Ratio161.330.00350.44Asset Turnover0.430.001.99
Debt/Common Equity Ratio161.330.00350.44Receivables Turnover14.170.001.6K
Leverage Ratio61.730.00354.93Inventory Turnover3.170.0016.48
Book Value2.36-19.7026.54Net Revenue (MRQ)38.1 M461M934M
Source: Dendreon Should Take A More Leading-Edge Approach