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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated Message Board

  • lowboard lowboard Mar 15, 1999 2:12 PM Flag

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    • DRUGS:
      It is about time for the drug sector
      to make a comeback here. Many of them
      have been
      scalped for 25% and if the market strengthens they should
      participate. I think MRK and PFE are logical rebounders, but
      SGP, and BMY, JNJ and LLY could go well also if the
      market gives in a bit.

      BIOTECH:
      I think this
      will be a deciding week for biotechs (who have been a
      favorite
      of mine for months now) If fund money starts
      to pull out it should be this week
      so watch for
      weakness in the names you have seen here so often INMX,
      AMGN, and BGEN. VISX could remain strong as they took a
      clubbing over patent questions and have room to rebound.
      Smaller issues like IMCL, and ICOS look attractive as
      managers are buying into them. We still like VGIN and ONXX
      longer term

      Memorable Plays:
      We suggested
      NSOL, CNET, and CMGI on 3/8/99 (+40), (+40), and (+47
      1/2) respectively.
      Not to mention EPAY on
      3/15/99(+21 57/64).

      For more info and some possible
      plays for the rest of the week
      http://207.158.224.126/NP/NP5.htm Free two-week trial newsletter and full access to
      the site.

    • I am impressed with your posts and would be interested in corresponding with you.

      Please contact me at PhDInvestr@aol.com. (No "o" in Investr.)

      Thank you.

    • It may be irrelevant to discuss biotechs for the
      long haul on a board of traders. Nonetheless, there
      are those of us who do take positions for "ever." In
      this case, I would think [opinions invited] that the
      market cap is of perhaps primary importance. If a
      biotech is big enough, it is unlikely that it will fade
      away. And given time, most will produce returns. It
      took Biogen years and years to get to Avonex. In this
      regard, I would think that Biochem Pharma and Vertex are
      two of the best bets around. The only problem,
      perhaps, is an abortive buyout before the company realizes
      it full potential. That is what killed Genentech
      and, I suspect, Chiron. Though money was made in both
      cases also. Just not as much as with Amgen and Biogen.

    • Its dirt cheap. Today's news wasn't really overly impressive though. Still all that cash, an approved product, fat pipeline.

    • ``We are encouraged by these findings and believe
      that Incel may provide clinical benefit for sarcoma
      patients. Ten of the evaluable
      study participants were
      patients with GI stromal sarcomas, and we have learned
      that the response of GI stromal sarcomas
      differs
      from that of other sarcomas,'' said Dr. George Demetri
      of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Senior Author on
      the Study. ``When
      these patients are excluded, the
      response rate is very encouraging for this
      heavily-refractory patient population. The information
      gained in
      this study can be applied to develop a focused Phase
      III clinical strategy for testing Incel in cancer
      patients.''

      The trial evaluated the safety, tolerability, and
      efficacy of Incel administered intravenously in
      combination with doxorubicin in
      patients with progressive,
      inoperable, advanced or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma.
      Treatment with Incel and doxorubicin was well
      tolerated.
      Adverse events observed in the study, including
      myelosuppression (associated with the highest doses of
      doxorubicin
      tested), nausea, vomiting, headache, asthenia (weakness),
      diarrhea, mucositis and fatigue, were reversible and
      generally mild to
      moderate in severity. The incidence of
      adverse events was similar to those associated with
      treatment with doxorubicin therapy
      alone. Treatment with
      Incel produced sustained blood concentrations in excess
      of the levels required to reverse MDR in vitro.
      In
      addition, Incel and doxorubicin showed no marked drug
      interactions, and an optimal dose for doxorubicin to be given
      in
      combination with Incel was established.

      According to
      the American Cancer Society, more than 7,000 new
      cases of soft tissue sarcoma, malignant tumors of the
      connective
      tissue, are diagnosed in the United States and Canada
      annually. Doxorubicin is the standard chemotherapy
      treatment for this
      disease. Approximately 70% of
      patients fail to respond to initial doxorubicin therapy,
      and relapse following initial response
      is
      frequent.

      The study is part of a broad Phase II program
      evaluating Incel's potential to resensitize drug-resistant
      tumors to chemotherapy in a
      range of cancer types and
      therapeutic regimens, with the goal of designing Phase III
      clinical trials of Incel in cancer patients. Phase
      II
      studies investigating the activity of Incel in
      combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of ovarian,
      prostate, and small cell
      lung cancers are ongoing. A
      Phase II study of the activity of Incel in patients
      with relapsing breast cancer has completed
      enrollment,
      and data analysis is underway. The Company expects to
      report additional data from Phase II clinical trials of
      Incel later this year.

      Multidrug resistance
      significantly limits the efficacy of many cancer chemotherapy
      regimens and is a major factor in the failure of
      cancer
      chemotherapy. Clinical response to therapy is correlated to the
      presence of molecular ``pumps'' that expel
      chemotherapy
      drugs from the tumor cells, and thus prevent the cancer
      from being eliminated. Two drug pumps commonly found
      in cancer are

      P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and
      multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP). Vertex's
      research shows that Incel can enhance the
      accumulation
      of chemotherapy agents in tumor cells by blocking
      both P-gp and MRP, and thereby restore the sensitivity
      of tumor
      cells to treatment with chemotherapeutic
      agents. P-gp and MRP overexpression have been associated
      with STS that is refractory
      to
      chemotherapy

      BioChem Pharma Inc. (Nasdaq: BCHE; Montreal, Toronto:
      BCH) Vertex's partner for the development and
      marketing of Incel in
      Canada, participated in the
      sarcoma and ovarian cancer trials.

    • Tuesday May 18, 8:31 am Eastern
      Time

      Company Press Release

      SOURCE: Vertex
      Pharmaceuticals Incorporated

      Vertex Reports Phase II
      Clinical Data on Incel(TM) for
      Treatment of
      Chemotherapy-Resistant Soft Tissue
      Sarcoma

      - Company Provides
      Update on Status of MDR Clinical Program
      -

      ATLANTA, May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Vertex Pharmaceuticals
      Incorporated (Nasdaq: VRTX - news) today announced results
      of
      a Phase II clinical trial of Incel(TM) (biricodar
      dicitrate), in combination with doxorubicin, for treatment of
      soft tissue sarcoma
      (STS) refractory to
      chemotherapy. Study results suggest that Incel helped restore
      tumor sensitivity to chemotherapy in some
      patients
      who had failed prior doxorubicin treatment. The data
      were reported at the 35th Annual Meeting of the
      American Society
      of Clinical Oncology being held this
      week in Atlanta, Georgia.

      ``In this study of
      stringently-defined doxorubicin-refractory soft tissue sarcoma
      patients with documented progressive disease, we
      saw
      that Incel can restore or enhance the activity of
      doxorubicin,'' said Dr. Vivien Bramwell of London Regional
      Cancer Centre
      (Ontario) and Chair of the Study.
      ``These data suggest that Incel, an inhibitor of
      multidrug resistance, may have a significant effect
      in
      some of these difficult-to-treat cancer patients and
      may offer a significant therapeutic
      benefit.''

      Enrollment is complete for this study. All 25 evaluable
      patients had, on enrollment, doxorubicin-resistant
      disease, either progressive
      disease after failing prior
      treatment with doxorubicin, or a disease type considered to
      be unresponsive. Ten of the patients
      had
      gastrointestinal (GI) stromal sarcomas, a relatively rare subtype
      of soft tissue sarcoma that is almost never
      responsive to
      doxorubicin therapy. Of the other 15
      evaluable patients, 60% demonstrated overall clinical
      benefit, with two patients showing
      partial responses
      and seven patients showing stable disease after
      treatment with Incel and doxorubicin. In one of the seven
      patients
      with stable disease and in one patient with a partial
      response, treatment with Incel and doxorubicin decreased
      tumor mass
      sufficiently to allow surgical resection
      for curative intent.

      Twenty-eight patients
      enrolled in the efficacy portion of the study, of which 25
      were evaluable for response assessment. Overall,
      a
      partial response (50% or more tumor regression) was
      observed in two patients, who had progressed while on
      prior treatment with
      doxorubicin. These two partial
      responses achieved 70-86% measurable tumor shrinkage. One
      of the responses has lasted for one
      year and the
      other was sufficient to allow surgical resection of the
      residual tumor. Stable disease (defined as less than 50%
      tumor
      regression or no evidence of progression for greater than or
      equal to 6 weeks) was observed in eight patients.
      Before enrollment in
      this study, these eight patients
      had exhibited either new lesions (two patients) or an
      increase in measurable tumor mass of 23 to
      141% within
      eight weeks of study entry. One patient with stable
      disease was stabilized sufficiently to have had the tumor
      mass
      surgically resected.

    • I read your previous post a little closer and
      answered my own question, but thanks for the further
      clarification. About not going 100% long yet... TOO LATE! I've
      got 2000 shares and I need an upward trend so I can
      resume normal sleeping pattern!

    • By 50% long I mean I would invest 50% of the
      total planned investment dollars for this company in my
      portfolio in the 20-ish range.

      VRTX is a more
      speculative biotech than some others that have more
      established revenue streams, broader product lines, and
      operating history, and the stock price and volatility
      reflect the associated uncertainty. Due to these factors
      it is hard to valuate companys like Vertex by
      traditional financial measures. As such, the possibility of a
      move to still lower prices cannot ever be discounted,
      and indeed the major trend of the last year is
      downward - for these reasons I would not go 100% long yet.

    • TraderJim: are you saying you think that Vertex
      will run up %50 from here (to about $30) or that you
      would now buy %50 of your total planned Vertex holding
      (for example 1000 shares now and 1000 shares after
      your sure we've turned the corner)?

    • I thnk when you look at all the indicators, chart
      support, etc. the overall picture is strong enough to
      suport going at least 50% long here.

      Contracting
      triangles almost always break out in the direction of the
      trend that was in force when the triangle started, and
      move a distance equal to the width of the base of the
      triangle, from the tip. In this case the trend going into
      the triangle was down, so it would predict a move
      down to a slight new low, however the width of the
      base here is so small (about 1 3/4 pts) that it would
      not result in going very far below 20 - perhaps 19.
      Since that might not happen, I would go 50% long here -
      this triangle is not a large (in price amplitude) and
      long (in time) structure - it is very small, and
      therefore not of much significance. If this does occur, add
      to the position once the target is achieved and go
      100% long.

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VRTX
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