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  • Exelixis: Preparing to be Purchased? [View article]
    I have been a fan of this stock for a long time! I'm confident in the upcoming results for their MTC trial, considering that the drug has a well validated mechanism of action. The prostate cancer data is surprising and exciting but I would be cautious of the dramatic bone met reduction data---until PFS and overall survival data are available, this has to be digested cautiously. Finally, I was always wondering if the multiple outlicensing deals that EXEL has with its pipeline would be a hindrance to its acquisition---do you have any insights on this last question?
    Apr 13 12:23 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ariad Pharmaceuticals: Solid Company but Not a Steal [View article]
    Agreed on the potential for ponatinib, however, the ALK market is going to be very small since few lung cancer patients harbour the ALK mutation that makes this drug work. Furthermore, in the short-term, I still see uncertainty in the ridafirolamus FDA approval due to the pretty weak, albeit statistically significant improvement in PFS.
    Mar 26 10:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Good News for Incyte's MF Treatment [View article]
    Also, Incyte doesn't even have marketing rights for the drug outside the US which is going to blunt its revenue in an already small 'niche' market for MF.
    Mar 16 09:50 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Illumina: A Valuation From Outer Space? [View article]
    Coming from someone directly involved in this kind of research, I can re-assure you that ILMN is the market leader in this kind of technology. As you mentioned, the release of the MiSeq may drive this stock through the roof if it can penetrate the clinic and be used by hospitals and doctors (think Gattaca). It's unclear whether cheaper plays in 'personalized medicine' such as GNOM or PACB will compete with ILMN, so I would watch how those companies perform in the near-term as well.
    Mar 2 09:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Exelixis: A Successful Development Stage Biotech Firm [View article]
    Do you have any estimates on what the stock should be valued at if XL184 is approved in MTC? Also, the drug should show promise in EGFR inhibitor-resistant NSCLC, where it is known that MET amplification is the primary resistance mechanism.
    Feb 14 03:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Genie About to Come Out of Ariad's Bottle [View article]
    As I said on another post about ARIA (, I don't understand all the bullish sentiment towards this stock. Although I was previously long on this stock and made a nice profit after the Phase III news, I quickly sold after seeing the marginal, though statistically significant improvement in PFS. An improvement of 3 weeks from the independent review committee is not something to be excited about when approaching the FDA. I am not as optimistic as you with regards to approval, or whether Medicare would reimburse for such a marginal improvement (the latter point should be stressed given Dendreon's recent troubles with Medicare and Provenge)
    Jan 24 11:12 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Near Term Catalysts for Ariad Pharma Add to Positive Outlook [View article]
    Steve, can you comment on the strength of the trial results? I think it is fair to say that a 3.1 week increase in PFS is rather modest. Also the discrepancy in the analysis between the independent committee and the investigative centers is confusing (more than a doubling of PFS in the latter's analysis). Considering how much the FDA is focusing on benefits versus risks as well as whether payers would be willing to pay for a drug that extends PFS (not even survival) only 3.1 weeks, are you confident that this drug will be approved and/or will be able to penetrate the marketplace?
    Jan 19 10:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 9 Biotech Stocks for 2011 [View article]
    I would imagine that they tested the drug in CRC because it is a much larger market than BCC...but with high reward comes high risk. Regarding OC, I am not sure about market size but it is a lethal cancer with few options, so any sort of clinical efficacy would probably lead to an expediated approval. BCC is a small market and has a relatively good prognosis---it is a safe bet on their drug but the profits will be small.
    You are right that the Hh pathway is the normal, physiological setting. In fact, it may be that it is activated in CRC and OC through this mechanism. However, without any mutations in the pathway it is difficult to know if the tumor ACQUIRED this characteristic for a growth advantage, or if the observation reflects the surrounding biological environment that the tumor cell is in (eg. colon or ovary). Remember, cancer is a genetic disease. Everything you need to know about why cancer happens is in the mutations that it accumulates and selects for growth advantage...therefore, its achilles heel(s) is in targeting those mutations...
    Jan 18 09:49 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 9 Biotech Stocks for 2011 [View article]
    Your papers indicate the pathway is 'activated' in those cancers but whether the activation in driven by mutations is really the key question...You can really only say whether a pathway is causally involved if it is mutated.

    Here is the primary article that found hedgehog mutations in BCC ( and a more general review of hedgehog pathway in BCC (

    Here is a primary article the describes no mutations in the most commonly altered gene Patched1 in CRC (

    Regarding ovarian cancer, I coudn't find any articles that looked at mutations in the pathway so I guess it is still an open question. The fact that the drug failed in OC may either indicate that there are in fact no mutations, or that the trial was not correctly designed to stratify for patients that harbored mutations in the pathway.
    Jan 16 01:36 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 9 Biotech Stocks for 2011 [View article]
    BCC is genetically driven by mutations in the hedgehog pathway, which GDC-0449 targets...there has never been any genetic data implicating this pathway in colorectal or ovarian cancer. This drug, like imatinib in CML or PLX-4032 in melanoma, is a shoe-in.
    Jan 14 04:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment