The principal driver of this stock is not the speculative -- which is obvious in that it is going in the opposite direction of the biotech index -- but the fact that their principal source of revenue is ending in the first quarter of next year. Solanezumab may indeed be approved some day, but it is highly speculative and out in future.
The Lilly data presented do not demonstrate efficacy. They do generate a hypothesis that early, mild patients can benefit from the drug, but this will need to be confirmed in several phase 3 studies, which will take quite a while to play out.
Based on the evidence that I have seen so far in other studies, the amyloid plaques don't appear to be causal in the disease, so it raises questions as to the validity of this approach. Nevertheless, if it does work it could eventually represent a substantial revenue source for PDLI.
Why all the emotion about this stock? None of us is going to move the price with comment or purchases/sales, since all of the volume is dividend and index funds. Whether PDLI can successfully acquire royalties is of course the critical question. Can the management of PDLI successfully transition from a company that simply collects the Queen royalties to one that can acquire royalties at attractive prices? The company has acquired about $700 million in royalties or debt securities secured by products. So far, I would argue that the record is far from impressive. The largest acquisition is the Glumetza royalty and this looks like a dud. Another of the investments is in workout, while several of the other loans have been successfully repaid.
There has also been a lot of discussion about the Lilly alzheimers antibody. This is an additional potential value point for the stock, but it has to be categorized as speculative, given that the antibody failed its primary endpoint in the phase 2 clinical trial. Post hoc subgroup analysis is always suspect and a confirmatory study and potential approval is years away at best. Nevertheless it could be big if it works, although it will never rival the revenue from the Queen patents, given that they cover a number of very large products across multiple manufacturers.
This will all play itself out shortly, since the dividend will have to be cut after the first quarter of next year, unless they are going to finance it with debt or equity sales. Once this happens, the stock will probably trade at its NAV, after a period of volatility during which the value investors come in and the dividend investors depart.