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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated Message Board

  • dwmacdonald2003 dwmacdonald2003 Feb 26, 2006 2:22 PM Flag

    Dr Scott Gottlieb's Take on VRTX

    From Forbes/Gottlieb Medical Technology Investor

    Editor Dr Scott Gottlieb now at the FDA

    Excerpts only from a 36 page report. In quotation marks direct quotes.

    �In the following pages I describe in detail three companies, one in each stage: discovery, development, and marketing. They are Vertex Pharmaceuticals [NASDAQ: VRTX], Medarex [NASDAQ: MEDX], and OSI Pharmaceuticals [NASDAQ: OSIP]. I consider these three companies to be must own stocks for my core portfolio.�

    My comment report was early 2005 or late 2004, pre OSIP take over of EyeTech

    �With these companies, you are mostly betting on underlying scientific know-how�the company�s research engine and its ability to continue to turn out new and promising drugs. In buying the stock, you are buying an option on the company�s research, and making a judgment that its superior scientific discovery program is going to turn out additional drug candidates. You are betting that the drugs it chooses to take forward are going to stand a better chance of being �clean� drugs that are free of serious side effects.�

    �Vertex Pharmaceuticals is one such biotech bargain not on many institutional radar screens. Its advanced pipeline makes it a non-traditional entry for my category of Discovery Stage Companies. However, I believe the company�s superior science and its robust discovery engine set it apart from the crowd.�

    �Among the discovery stage companies with the most productive early development programs and the best science, I�ve made an unconventional choice. My pick is a biotech company that already has two drugs approved and on the market, as well as some highly promising drugs in early development. But as I mentioned, I think the reason to own Vertex Pharmaceuticals is for its outstanding drug discovery engine, its ability to marry innovative science with drug development, and its track record for turning out effective new molecules against some of the most difficult drug targets around. I think Vertex is a stock that belongs in the portfolio of every serious biotech investor.�

    �Vertex Pharmaceuticals: Milestones Late 2004 and 2005

    Initiate VX-950 proof of concept phase Ib in chronic HCV
    Begin phase IIa study of VX-765 for psoriasis
    Begin phase IIa study of VX-385 for HIV
    Begin 28-day study of merimepodib plus ribavirin in HCV
    Begin phase I development of VX-680 in cancer
    Report phase I data for VX-765
    Phase II studies VX-385, HIV protease inhibitor, with GSK
    Start VX-765 phase IIa 28 day study in psoriasis in 2004
    Potential partner for VX-702 in ACS, following positive phase IIa data
    Start of phase I study by Merck on Aurora kinase inhibitor VX680 in cancer
    Data from 14 day phase Ib study VX950 in HCV patients
    INDs for novel kinase inhibitors in cancer
    INDs for novel ion channel blockers in neuropathic pain
    Resolve strategy for developing Pralnacasan with Aventis�

    �From my discussions with Vertex, as well as other scientists, I believe that this past experience is a poor predictor of where Vertex stands with VX-950. This past experience, however, has tainted minds on Wall Street, where some analysts are discounting Vertex�s program because of the perception that the target is �hard to drug.� I think that�s a miscalculation, and that the prospects for VX-950 are very good. This drug can provide a near term catalyst for Vertex�s stock price. And Wall Street is underestimating its potential."

    My comment

    The �past experience is poor reference� is about the difficulty of finding a drug that would fit inside the HCV protease enzyme�s binding pocket and disable it.

    Some recent Wall Street reports have suggested that VRTX is over valued and ahead of its self. Is this because Wall Street has missed the boat?

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    • re-reading the post, I can see why it looked like that, but it wasn't meant as literally as you read it. What was meant was that after the success in HIV with PI's, they were being tested for HCV.

    • No, I wasn't saying anything at all about where they came from.

    • I stand behind my comments. Yes, pi's came from HIV. But it is definitely wrong to say HCV is as tough if not tougher than HIV. HCV is an RNA virus, HIV is a retrovirus that incorporates itself into the DNA (the way I remember it). The reason that is wrong, is because meds CAN"T cure HIV. They CAN cure HCV. That is fact.
      And, I still haven't seen data, and you haven't posted any, with respect to your comment that SGP's drug is as good, if not better than 950. Those are the 2 points I was correcting you on.

    • Wrong on many fronts ? LOL

      I've been following HCV drugs for six years now. Even done a few of them myself. HCV has many known targets. So does HIV. Viral structure is known. That has not been the problem. Where did you first hear of the development of protease inhibitors ? HIV research. Look, both have an ability to rapidly mutate. HCV can replicate a trillion times a day producing millions of quasi-species (mutations). This ability has resulted in in over 50 subtypes of virus and growing. And gov't funding was simply to illustrate the disparity of available money for research. Which does matter. I may be new to this board but I am not new to vertex nor to hcv. And SP's drug announced fast track status within a few days after vertex. As far as data...well...let's just say some is known and some is unknown....for most.

    • I wish I had it linked, but there was a story talking about the obstacles in drug discovery, and the costs, like you said, and how they can cut them back. THe high cost of discovery in its earliest stages for things that may not work theoretically takes money away from discovering new molecules, or something to that effect. If I could find that, I will post it, but I am even reluctant to post the above due to my memory of it.

    • maybe so, but it is possible that SGP's drug is different somehow so that it isn't quite as active. I still say that they should have been able to get a better result based on preclinical data, but it will take them longer to find TID, and put them behind. Cholesterol lowering drugs can be a bit subjective compared to HCV IMO, as with HCV, the numbers that matter are 0, and how long.


      Dr. Gottlieb was hot on this before anyone that I can remember, and he has been proven right so far.

    • from what date is this article ?


    • Yes, there risks to VRTX. If the binding site for VX-950 is shallow and the company designed the molecule with all kinds of bonds to fit the site exactly, what happens with the slight mutations to this site? Big drop in affinity and rise of the mutants? Or the mutants are slow growers that are easy targets for the IFN boosted immune system?

      Like it has been pointed out here, it will have to be a combo of drugs, probably acting at different sites like the IDIX drug and even short tx of Ribivirin.

      I can not see how the Monday CC can boost this stock anymore... market is hi.

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