In an article entitled: The Biotech Bull Market is Far From Over
He predicts high quality data from a broad range of small- and mid-cap biotechs will move shares higher during the summer and especially in the fall. In an interview with The Life Sciences Report, he showcases names (including Ariad) with powerful platforms and market winds to their backs, which he believes could vigorously multiply investor capital over the next 12 to 18 months.
"TLSR: Could you mention another name?
RB: Sure. Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ARIA:NASDAQ) is a turnaround story as well. Last year the company ran into a significant snag. Ariad had the distinct pleasure of not only successfully getting Iclusig (ponatinib) approved in mid-December 2012, a full three months ahead of its Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) date, but it also achieved regulatory approval both in the U.S. and in Europe for the drug. Iclusig was approved for third-line use in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Ariad was running a head-to-head Phase 3 study against Gleevec (imatinib) in an effort to move its product toward front-line use in CML, but due to an increasing side-effect profile, including serious arterial thrombotic events and cardiovascular toxicities, the FDA suspended the marketing of ponatinib in the U.S. That led to a significant decrease in shareholder value for the company.
Subsequently, the company worked with the FDA and was able to revise its label to a more restrictive patient population, getting the drug back on the market. Most investors look at the more restricted label and think a company with a market valuation of more than $1B and a restricted label is more than fairly valued. Given the lower peak revenue potential in the $100–150 million range ($100–150M), investors perceive Ariad as an overvalued stock trading at 10 times its peak revenue potential for Iclusig. But, in our opinion, this is where the opportunity lies.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
thanks for that article. what amazes me is MRK paid 4B for some company (forgot the symbol) and they don't have what ARIA has. Why isn't someone just offering say $20 (not that I need that price) but to take them out and get inclusig and 26113 to push forward. if it's better than novartis' drug (26113), why did MRK cancel the partnership and why won't someone take them out for that drug alone??? geez..
“With existing branded products going generic over the next five years or so, pharmas need to license or acquire outright the products that biotech companies are developing.”
What we believe investors are missing is that Ariad has an extremely active drug with ponatinib. We know that off-label sales are occurring in the second-line CML market right now, and as more physicians get comfortable with the side-effect profile, we believe the significant activity seen with ponatinib will help increase market share in other indications—even within CML. We believe Ariad is going to grow market share beyond the third-line and fourth-line CML market. In addition, the drug is being evaluated in several other solid tumor indications.
Ariad also has a pipeline of products, including a new anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor called AP26113, which reported outstanding data in advanced malignancies at ASCO. When you think ALK inhibitors, you probably think of the two major ones, Xalkori (crizotinib; Pfizer) or Novartis’ Zykadia (ceritinib). A slew of other ALK inhibitors are in development, but AP26113 seems to have generated some differentiated data, which was presented at ASCO. The data differentiates AP26113 not just in its activity, which we believe is slightly better than Novartis’ Zykadia, but we also believe the side effect profile is better. Ariad’s pipeline sets the company up as one of the more interesting acquisition targets in the biotechnology space."
Sentiment: Strong Buy