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Travis Chapman

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  • Raptor Pharmaceuticals: Stock Below Fair Value With Recent Pullback [View article]
    Excellent article! I'm not very familiar with Raptor, but they're setting the bar sky high with Huntington's! Do you know if the company is anticipating an acquisition to bring their candidate to market if they get positive results?

    On another note, Cystagon modulates a few putative biomarkers for Huntington pathology/progression. As such, finding the right age target could be crucial for success. Does the trial design take this into account? Obviously they could do a post-hoc analysis if they have enough patients enrolled for different age groups, but this would likely lead to a call for additional trials before approval (ie dose-dependence of the effect, larger sample size, etc etc).
    Aug 8 01:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alzheimer's Drug Bapi Looks Done (Again) [View article]
    There was some evidence bapi could have worked for ApoE4 non-carriers, as you acknowledged. Sola's phase II data, on the other hand, showed no statistically significant effect whatsoever. Lilly is wasting their money and screwing their shareholders for a pipe dream.

    As far as better diagnostics for early identification of people bapi could help, that's at least 10 years away, so not really relevant for most people's investment horizon. I thought bapi would work for ApoE4 non-carriers, but now we just have to face the facts. Bapi and sola are dead (as is the amyloid-beta hypothesis of Alzheimer's unless the Genentech trial for early-onset prevention works).
    Aug 7 12:13 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Bapi Is The Same As Aricept, Or Why I Wouldn't Short Pfizer [View article]
    Wow. Bapi data released literally minutes ago. No effect even in ApoE4 non-carriers with a bigger sample size. Move on, folks. (Regardless, I'm still bullish on Pfizer.)
    Aug 6 05:31 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Eli Lilly: Strong Cash Flows And Undervalued Pipeline [View article]
    Ah, I see you change the table to thousands of millions. Makes a lot more sense now! The price/drug ratio is a good idea assuming companies add equal value for each drug in their pipeline, but we know that's not true. In fact, sometimes drugs make it to phase III in the face of overwhelming evidence that they don't work. I like the idea of your analysis, but I think it needs some more fleshing out before it would really be useful. For instance, you could use phase II p-values to take into account the probability that each drug in the denominator for each company would eventually see approval. Thanks for the response!
    Aug 5 10:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Eli Lilly: Strong Cash Flows And Undervalued Pipeline [View article]
    I'm confused about your price/drug metric. Thousands of billions? Where did that number come from?!

    About solanezumab...the probability of success in phase III is so low I wouldn't even bother mentioning it as a possible up side scenario for Lilly. There was absolutely no evidence that it worked in phase 2. There was evidence that it increased CSF amyloid-beta, but the functional significance of this is unclear (unlike CSF tau or phosphor-tau, which correlates closer to cognitive outcomes). At the end of the day the FDA cares about improving cognitive function in Alzheimer's patients, and without this Lilly has nothing. The decision to go forward with costly phase III sola trials reflects Lilly's desperation for a drug that can keep their earnings intact in the face of an otherwise weak pipeline. Sure, an Alzheimer's drug would be a blockbuster, but the evidence suggests Lilly does not have that drug and they're spending the money to go forward anyway. This kind of management, in my view, should have investors suing.

    Check out the data for yourself here:

    Besides that, Lilly has a history of taking things to phase III when they're not ready. Remember semagacestat? That was a costly mistake.

    I wouldn't touch Lilly with a 10 foot pole, regardless of the sheer number of drugs they have in phase III. It's the quality of the data behind their drugs that matters--not brute force. I am interested in using your metric for a combined approach, though. For instance, calculating risks, upsides, etc. for each drug and comparing that to the price for multiple companies. That could yield real insight. Please elaborate on how you got these numbers!
    Aug 3 10:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Binary Biotech Events And The Uselessness Of Analysts [View article]
    I'm not suggesting their degrees bestow on them authority to make definitive calls about what will happen at the FDA. If you've ever been in a room full of scientists discussing something controversial in their field (for instance, drug efficacy), you know there are tons of ways they can disagree while keeping the scientific evidence at the forefront of their arguments. Every study has flaws. Every single one. However, the knowledge and interpretive creativity you gain while getting a doctorate in the sciences is more than enough to give analysts some edge when it comes to proprietary insight. They may not be right all the time, but they're definitely adding value to the process. Disregard them at your own peril.

    And remember: the FDA is full of scientists that went through the same (or similar) training as these analysts. You really don't think analysts will have a clue about results that will make most regulatory panels scoff (or jump for joy)? I think they have a better idea than your average MBA. Evaluating the sufficiency of controls, finding potential confounds, anticipating side effects, etc. doesn't come overnight or by taking a few classes and familiarizing yourself with basic drug/disease mechanisms. Folks that are best at seeing these factors will have spent years of their lives working in the research enterprise, for instance by obtaining an advanced degree. Their degrees don't give them authority. The depth of thought that went into obtaining said degrees does give them an edge, though.
    Jul 16 05:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Binary Biotech Events And The Uselessness Of Analysts [View article]
    I get the frustration with empty analysis, but it's not entirely accurate to say analyst speculation about binary events in biotech is a bunch of hot air. Yes, you should do your own due diligence. No, you shouldn't trade because some blogger told you you'll get rich. At the end of the day, though, sell side analysts with the best reputations usually have PhDs or MDs--and many are CFA certified. They're not exactly ill-equipped to come up with proprietary insight on the strength of the science behind drugs headed to the FDA. So...yeah, they're armchair scientists in a way, but they have the degrees to be the scientists making these drugs. Don't let a few bloggers represent "analysts" as a whole.
    Jul 16 11:26 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Positive Data Released On Idenix Pharmaceuticals IDX184 Hep C Drug [View article]
    Sorry but what makes you think Trius makes hepatitis C drugs? From what I can tell Trius is focused on antibiotics (i.e. targeting bacteria), not hepatitis (i.e. targeting hepatitis virus). That, I dont think TSRX and IDIX are competitors...
    Jul 3 12:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment