Spectrum: Increased Fusilev Production May Boost Stock

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SPPI) may be working its way back into the game with its intention to increase the manufacturing capacity of Fusilev.

Spectrum recently decided to increase the U.S. manufacturing capacity of Fusilev (a novel folate analog) for injection, in order to meet the growing demand cancer patients have for the drug. The drug was recently approved for use in the treatment of colorectal cancer (the third most commonly diagnosed form of cancer and third leading cause of cancer death in the country) and has proven to be successful in treating this illness. To achieve the increase, Spectrum has third-party manufacturing facilities approved by the FDA for the increased production of the drug in order to ensure that more and more patients who need the drug will have access to it. With these facilities in place, the minds of doctors and patients alike should be put to ease knowing that Fusilev will be available.

The drug is available in two forms, one as a liquid form, which can immediately be injected, and the other as a freeze-dried powder form that needs to be prepared before it can be injected. When used in conjunction with chemotherapy the drug is effective in the treatment of colorectal cancer.

Spectrum is committed to assisting cancer patients in their daily lives and the company's main focus is on hematology and oncology. The company's focus on colorectal cancer stems from the fact that hundreds of new patients with this form of cancer are diagnosed every day in the U.S. To combat this growing number of colorectal cancer sufferers, Spectrum decided to increase the production of Fusilev so that no patient will go untreated. The drug is also available free of charge through a program that Spectrum offers to ensure that patients without the means to pay for the drug do not go untreated.

Spectrum, currently, only has two oncology drugs on the market, but both are successful. Considering the company's stated focus on oncology, this is an appropriate number. The demonstrable success of the drug Fusilev and the intention of the company to increase the production of that drug, assure me that the company will continue to be successful in the future. Its proven success makes Spectrum stock a good bet and safe play to make.

Unlike Spectrum, other companies such as Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) have not been experiencing as much in the way of success. Rather than moving toward an increase in production, the company has experienced a decline in sales of its best-selling antipsychotic drug Zyprexa. This is due, mainly, to the patents recently expiring, and the ensuing flooding of the market with generics. That being said, the company is doing better than expected and many consider it to be one of the better long-term options to keep in mind going forward. I personally feel that Eli Lilly is still a safe stock to hold onto, for now, though you will have to see if it is able to introduce a successful drug to counter the decrease in Zyprexa sales.

Another company that is suffering is AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN). Recently, media outlets announced that CEO David Brennan has elected to step down. This comes after several attempts by the company to recoup losses caused by current and future patent expirations. Stockholders across the board are losing faith in the company's ability to keep its head above water. With patents expiring soon, the company seemingly has nothing new to introduce. AstraZeneca needs to make a big move and soon, or else investors may move elsewhere. Spectrum's success may catch the attention of more than a few of these.

GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) is experiencing similar downturn in terms of profits and predicted earnings for the year. A huge drop in first-quarter net profit for the company led to the unsurprising result of a major drop in shares. The company itself assigns blame to the current economic situation in Europe, stating that the austerity measures currently in place in that part of the world affected the sale of drugs and vaccines markedly. GSK maintains that it will be able to boost sales throughout the rest of the year and meet targets in the long run. Whether the company can hold true to its promise will be answered soon enough, but I'm sure it wishes it had a new success story like Spectrum.

Another competitor, Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB) has been the subject of much analysis of late with interesting results. The analysis positivity is most likely due to the success of the company's new MS drug. Recent reports show the drug to be both safe and effective and the long-term implications of launching an effective treatment for MS will no doubt have excellent effects on Biogen stock. The drug is called BG-12 and can be taken orally by patients. If the drug can treat MS as well as test results suggest, not only will Biogen stock soar, but its name will be held in a higher echelon for years to come, an indication of long-term standing in the industry.

Last, but not least, Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) has recently announced a number of new drugs. The new drugs are aimed at helping athletes that are recovering from an injury or illness by building muscle or getting lean and toned. There is a big nutritional aspect to take into account in this kind of recovery process, and this is what Abbott has decided to focus on in its new line of products. The products are EAS Lean 15 powder and bars, EAS Recovery powder, EAS Myoplex 30 bars and EAS Myoplex Original shakes featuring Revigor. This new direction, a small shift away from basic pharmaceuticals, may be just what keeps Abbott its position ahead of the competition.

Spectrum's success comes at a vital time. As its competitors are finding success in some of their endeavors, Spectrum, too, must leverage the success of its own drug. Keep an eye on Fusilev sales and news, and you will know where Spectrum may be heading.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.