Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Analysts Say Noven Will Not Give Up on Bipolar Disorder Drug Candidate

Ahead of the Bell: Noven

NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Analysts said Tuesday that Noven Pharmaceuticals Inc. is likely to give its bipolar disorder drug a second chance in a late-stage clinical trial, a day after word of poor results sent the stock plunging.

On Monday, Noven said tests showed its Lithium QD patch was not significantly more effective than a placebo. Shares sank 21.8 percent, to $13.05, reaching an annual low of $12.91 during the session.

Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Scott Henry reduced his target price to $18.50 per share from $20, but maintained a "Buy" rating on Noven stock. He said the company wants to begin a new late-stage trial after it meets with the Food and Drug Administration to discuss results of the most recent testing.

Henry said results from that trial could be available in nine months to a year.

Analyst David Steinberg of Deutsche Bank said the delay could be much longer, possibly more than 18 months, as Noven may attempt a larger trial or change the formulation of the drug to make it more effective. He kept a "Hold" rating on the stock, but cut his price target to $14 from $17.

Henry noted that the FDA is due to rule on another Noven drug, the bipolar disorder treatment Stavzor, in the next few weeks.

"Even though considered low risk, there are no guarantees that this product will gain approval," he said. He added that investors have become very pessimistic about Noven's pipeline, but their views could change if the company is able to report good news.

Is there any doubt, anywhere, as to the motives of large pharma? Of course they're entitled to make a profit. But these companies are being driven by shareholders who have no interest in anything but the return on their investment. They have no knowledge of the industry, the R&D process, FDA approvals, or the impact of their products on consumers. The bottom line is all that matters.


Stephany said...

Nemeroff of Emory owns the patent on the Li patch, read at my CME entries or at Clinical Psych--he's a leader in conflict of interest

Jon said...

Stephany - Thanks for being the watchdog that you are. I'm not sure everyone reading this knows the significance of the watchdog work you are doing.