Source EP Vantage
Company Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Gilead Sciences, Synta Pharmaceuticals
Tags Analysis, Free Content, Company Strategy, Trial Results, Phase I, Phase II, Oncology, Interview
Date June 05, 2013
In normal times, a reassuring readout of phase I data for Infinity Pharmaceuticals' blood cancer candidate IPI-145 at the important Asco meeting should have been a bulwark against a steep drop in the company's share price. But amid a biotech bubble a decision to test a low dosage in phase II was taken as a negative sign about safety, causing a damaging sell-off that sent shares down 39% on Monday.
As investors voted with their feet, Infinity chief executive Adelene Perkins tried to remain calm and instead pointed to the company's efforts to execute clinical programmes for IPI-145 and the phase II lung cancer drug retaspimycin hydrochloride. “We would much prefer to have had [the shares] go up,” she tells EP Vantage, adding, “We try not to get too focused on the daily swings in our stock price.”
What is it worth?
True, the Massachusetts group was looking overvalued to begin with and was due for a re-rating. EvaluatePharma’s consensus forecast puts sales of retaspimycin (IPI-504) at $194m and IPI-145 at $83m in 2018, giving the projects net present values of $314m and $85m respectively. Compared with Infinity's $1.3bn market capitalisation on Friday, expectations were clearly much too high.
That did not stop Piper Jaffray from renewing coverage in March and setting a whopping $53 price target, which would have valued the company at an incredible $2.5bn; they were not alone in having price targets above $50 as RBC Capital and JP Morgan joined in. Such an environment is ripe for disappointment; Purdue Pharma’s decision to sell its stake should perhaps have been taken as a sign to take profits (Purdue pulls back from biotech with sale of Infinity stake, April 15, 2013).
Of course, Infinity has gone along for the ride as – and Ms Perkins touts this fact –