3 Things to Watch With Astex Pharmaceuticals (Article; Part I)
July 24, 2012
Astex Pharmaceuticals is a biotechnology firm focused on therapies in the fields of oncology and hematology and small-molecule-drug discovery. It currently has one drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a pipeline filled with 10 clinical phase experimental drugs and multiple pre-clinical trials.
Today, let's look at three things investors should be watching regarding Astex Pharmaceuticals, which will provide us with better insight into the company.
1. Clinical-phase pipeline
Astex currently has one FDA-approved drug on the market, Dacogen, for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome. It markets this drug in cooperation with Eisai Pharmaceuticals in North America and Janssen Cilag, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, everywhere else. Dacogen's sales have hit a stagnant point in recent quarters making it extremely important that Astex continues to develop its pipeline of drug hopefuls in order to grow its bottom line.
With four drugs in phase 1 trials, five hopefuls in phase 2, and an expansion of Dacogen in phase 3 trials, Astex offers shareholders a seemingly endless parade of study data with plenty more in the pre-clinical and discovery stages. The basis for Astex's success in discovering potential therapies lies in its proprietary fragment-based drug discovery platform known as Pyramid. This technology is able to computationally determine how low-weight molecules (fragments) and proteins will interact with one another, and has allowed Astex to create a bountiful clinical-phase pipeline.
In addition to discovering potentially new therapies, a small biotechnology company having a partner with an experienced sales and marketing team, and deep pockets, is often appreciated. Astex has worked rigorously to set itself up for success by partnering with many large pharmaceutical names.