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Volcano Corporation Message Board

jacosa 96 posts  |  Last Activity: Jul 11, 2016 12:47 PM Member since: Jan 24, 2000
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  • Reply to

    Congressional interest

    by jacosa Apr 27, 2016 12:06 PM
    jacosa jacosa May 5, 2016 2:00 PM Flag

    Just heard something hair-raising in the Merck presentation at Deutsche Bank. Background is that there's a bolus of hepatitis C patients from the era between when pooled blood products became a big deal until when people started caring about HCV and learned to test for it (say 1962-1995 with a few years of slop on each end). Other than pooled blood products, transmission is inefficient, and even without treatments the illness was in decline. That decline is nice for public health, but no comfort for patients whose livers fail 20-40 years post-infection. The present treatments are complete cures; the patient is well and can't infect others at all.

    So here it is: the prices of HCV treatments are high enough to ration number of patients treated. HCV could be eradicated if all patients were treated, but there isn't the money. And the drugs aren't inherently difficult to make or dependent on scarce resources. This is an extreme case of drug companies having put in enormous resources up front, with low chance of success; large rewards are appropriate. But letting an epidemic run decades longer than it needs to? Primum non nocere, or the highway!

    I'd like to have the government commandeer the patents on a few of the HCV drugs ('buy' implies voluntary. No choice, but generous compensation to be given--some ideas are 10xcost of development, or twice the cost of giving the drugs to existing patients). Cure everyone who can be found and end the outbreak.

  • jacosa jacosa May 5, 2016 1:33 PM Flag

    Just listened to the Merck presentation at Deutsche Bank. Incyte was the only collaborator mentioned by name (albeit very briefly, along with mention of their own anti-IDO). They also mentioned GITR as a combo target with Keytruda.

    Minor interest: mentioned that while you want own/own combos when there is a possibility of giving the agents simultaneously, it's much less important when they're given by different routes or on different schedules. The examples were IV vs pills, every 3 weeks vs daily. Well, that's a double hit on the protocol for Keytruda / epac.

  • jacosa jacosa May 5, 2016 12:53 PM Flag

    Very thin gruel, but quoting from today's Merck release: "Registration-enabling trials of KEYTRUDA are currently enrolling patients with melanoma..."

    Since the drug is already registered as a single agent against melanoma, this has to refer to combination[s].

    But hey, I shoulda looked quicker: here's the Clinicaltrials number: NCT02752074 Described as an Incyte study with Merck collaborating, starting this month. 600 Patients for 2 years. There COULD have been an annex added to the original collaboration agreement to cover this, with consequences that might delay the CC. Since it's an existing agreement, it wouldn't have required immediate announcement.

  • Reply to

    INCB039110 Ibrutinib combination trial

    by downtoearth54321 May 5, 2016 11:04 AM
    jacosa jacosa May 5, 2016 11:44 AM Flag

    I don't know about specifically called out, but we've been prepped for trials of '110 in lymphoid malignancies. WAY back when, ruxo was tried against multiple myeloma (with good theoretical reasons) and failed (presumably because of dose-limiting toxicity). '110 Ought to be less toxic (I don't think we've seen a big study)

    If successful, this would start out as an extreme example of a costly / costly drug combination (before we learn the dirt against '110, it looks like a drug that could find a large market, lowering the price).

  • Reply to

    Earnings May 9 [?]

    by jacosa Apr 14, 2016 8:56 AM
    jacosa jacosa May 5, 2016 10:56 AM Flag

    One more, semi-serious: maybe the accounting staff has been over-burdened preparing materials against a possible need for Senate testimony. We might never know that one.

  • Reply to

    Earnings May 9 [?]

    by jacosa Apr 14, 2016 8:56 AM
    jacosa jacosa May 4, 2016 8:27 PM Flag

    There's been some commentary in other items. First: the maternity leave thing was a joke.

    Ok, suppose there was something wrong with epac (I have no information). What might delay the CC but not require a prompt announcement? Can't be adverse events; they have to be announced promptly. Can't be outright termination of an announced joint research deal--same thing. I don't think disappointing results from collaborations would delay the CC. Massive success in one might force Incyte to budget for half of a registration program before they were prepared to, and Incyte wouldn't need to comment (if the partner didn't want to announce anything before the clinicaltrials posting, Incye couldn't comment. I just heard on another company's call that "a top tier customer is evaluating our firmware as part of a flagship product") That stuff can happen. But I doubt it here. Plausibly, epac might be getting back-burnered somewhere without termination of the agreement involved. I don't see that the CC would be delayed. I speculated that the failure of the ruxo/inflammation/cancer thing might have made reorganization appropriate. I don't see that epac is as central to the immune-oncology program as all that.

    Most ownership actions (companies, parts of them, even product lines) create even hotter potatoes than the quarterly numbers You announce them when they're done, and you do NOTHING to hint at something going on.

    "The usual suspects" for delayed earnings are inventories, goodwill and unconsolidated subsidiaries. None of those here.

    I'm pretty suet that I once saw an announcement that earnings reporting would be delayed due to the untimely departure of a key treasurers' office employee. Thing is, they said what and why up front.

    We'll learn soon enough.

  • Reply to

    IMAX IS ON THE MOVE

    by cashworkswell1 May 2, 2016 8:41 PM
    jacosa jacosa May 3, 2016 7:48 PM Flag

    Paper airplanes?

    Sorry, Really, I'm long and I like the deal. But we've learned around here to value contracts for future builds "appropriately."

  • Reply to

    Anybodyb want to share on TSRA?

    by kg2931 Apr 20, 2016 4:18 PM
    jacosa jacosa May 3, 2016 7:36 PM Flag

    Tessera makes money by licensing intellectual property (and doing joint development). Sometimes it's unclear whether a party is using IP another party owns. So you get lawsuits. Tessera used to sue a lot, and won a lot because they had a dynamite patent on flexible connections, which has since expired. Some of the disputes got nasty. Starboard instituted a policy of Tessera being much 'softer' in enforcing its rights to IP, in return for seeking to do business with those it is having problems with.

    Especially in the old days, the decision in a lawsuit could result in a bolus of income. That's episodic revenue, and it's hard for investors to think what to make of it. Post Starboard, Tessera states episodic and recurring revenue separately. There was a to-do a few months back when a journalist pointed out that when legal settlements were of the form "$5 MM a year for 5 years" (a structured settlement) rather than "$25MM next Tuesday," Tessera was reporting them as recurring. And it's NOT clear that they are the same sort of thing as licensing fees and payment for services. But if a settlement with payments over 3 years is really a cover for negotiating an ongoing business relationship, it's hard to argue.

    This Q's episodic revenue was mostly the result of an audit, in which a customer concluded that "Oops, we made more use of your IP than we had paid you for."

  • Reply to

    Anybodyb want to share on TSRA?

    by kg2931 Apr 20, 2016 4:18 PM
    jacosa jacosa May 3, 2016 7:04 PM Flag

    I don't know a better available number. But my impression is that single stocks held in individual margin accounts are a smallish part of the float for most companies, So the trend is meaningful. Institutional % can get misleading when a lot of ownership is through "sector funds," which are managed pretty mechanically. Another distorting factor in some companies is large convertible securities issues--these can be hedged with short positions, occasionally making institutional ownership larger than the float. I think TSRA is represented in some sector funds, but not as a top holding.

  • jacosa jacosa May 3, 2016 6:52 PM Flag

    Vectra volume up 18% YoY. It's a start. Some private coverage, too, although that will mostly await further validation. Anyone out there with RA check me, but there was a throw-away in the discussion that baseline medical supervision is 4 visits a year. Medicare presently covers Vectra twice a year, and you might want an extra test or two when making any large alteration in meds, so there's room to expand the indication...again, pending validation. And heads up, here: a very different RA drug (generic name baricitinib; its similarity to the marketed tofacitinib {Xeljanz) is superficial) is hitting the market in early '17, so there may be more than usual adjustments in meds next year.

    Market will, of course, focus on delayed hereditary cancer reimbursements. And of course SOME people would like forecasts to include new reimbursement authorizations.

    Efforts continuing to get Prolaris recommended in a noticeably larger population. I guess the insurers have to push back, but these favorable intermediate risk patients were included in the validation studies, and this is the group where a well-validated test has the greatest impact on choices.

  • Reply to

    Congressional interest

    by jacosa Apr 27, 2016 12:06 PM
    jacosa jacosa May 3, 2016 12:27 PM Flag

    Bloomberg, May 3rd. The Blues Singer Who Created America's Hated Drug-Pricing Model

    Basically, capitalism meets socialism at infinity. Example: it might not be worth $100K to a HepC patient to get cured, but he wouldn't be able to afford a liver transplant; society might elect to pay to keep him alive if that was needed; so society gains by picking up part of the tab for the cure.

  • Reply to

    Anybodyb want to share on TSRA?

    by kg2931 Apr 20, 2016 4:18 PM
    jacosa jacosa May 3, 2016 12:03 PM Flag

    I am extremely happy with the conference call. Starboard seems to have won the work-out as they won the control dispute. The legal docket is as clear as I can recall, and while there haven't been smashing victories, the possibility of future business doesn't seem to have been shut off. Narrowing research focus (and buying what was available where it was an improvement) has generated great results. I used to say that when the industry needed 400 connection per square millimeter Tessera would be ready. Now that's up to a million connections per square millimeter. Obviously, assembly with the delicacy that sort of number requires isn't for everyone, so the ASE deal is extremely important.

    Management makes no bones about structured legal settlements being recurring revenue. If you expect a license to follow the end of the settlement, that's completely reasonable. Apparently serious talk about possibility of a contract with Qualcomm in the future definitely goes along with that.

    An analyst question gently suggested that Tessera is lowballing its forecast for the rest of the year. The answer, basically, was that they had included some optimism in the original forecast, so some of the recent happy developments were within the original forecast.

  • Reply to

    Anybodyb want to share on TSRA?

    by kg2931 Apr 20, 2016 4:18 PM
    jacosa jacosa May 3, 2016 11:02 AM Flag

    Stock "owned" by individuals in margin accounts is registered to the brokerage (which can lend it or use it as collateral). In return, the individual can borrow money against it from the brokerage. This can bite if the brokerage fails suddenly (great historical example: DuPont Glore Forgan--suddenly doesn't need to be fast if your records are scrambled enough). When a company is being subjected to heavy prolonged short selling, holders often choose to move stock to cash accounts (where it is registered in their own names, and is unavailable for lending) (this is obsolete, since anti-stock-watering rules are toothless overseas).

  • Reply to

    Earnings May 9 [?]

    by jacosa Apr 14, 2016 8:56 AM
    jacosa jacosa May 2, 2016 8:39 PM Flag

    Or instead of by stage of development, by type of target (I'm pretty sure this was considered and rejected in the past): drugs affecting signal transduction (kinase and delta inhibitors), drugs feeding into immunotherapy and epigenetic modifiers. Not so neat, but thinkable.

  • Hereditary cancer and prostate cancer aggressiveness will be what they will be. Still [extremely] early days for companion diagnostics.

    Rheumatoid arthritis treatment is like a $40bln market, and aside from the expense, a lot of the major drugs have serious ide effects. It makes sense that 5% or so of that market might eventually be available to tune treatment. About half Medicare / half private (not yet addressable). So some start on adoption would be real nice. Sooner is better, because safer (still expensive) RA drugs are coming in '17.

  • Reply to

    Earnings May 9 [?]

    by jacosa Apr 14, 2016 8:56 AM
    jacosa jacosa Apr 29, 2016 2:01 PM Flag

    Two weeks, no real clues--even in the proxy statement. I'm partial to the internal realignment idea.

    Clearly, there's nothing in common between the Jakafi business and the pre-phase-2 candidates. I contend that the phase 2 candidates, at median, are more studied than typical for the corresponding bunch at a typical drug company, while the pre-phase-2s are less mature than their peers (we could talk a lot about how this happened, but the historical reasons sorta make sense). Bari, of course, is odd man out, but you could put it with Jakafi [or sell it]. Anyway, for a couple years going forward, I can make a case for a marketed / near market / long-term-prospects division, with each category lobbying top management for resources and dividing its allotment among projects internally. It would make a kind of sense in the aftermath of failure of the blue sky hopes for ruxo.

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