What a long, strange trip it’s been for Dendreon.
Three years ago, positive results from a trial of Provenge, its immune therapy drug for prostate cancer, prompted an FDA advisory panel to recommend that it be approved.
Instead, the FDA ordered another study.
Last fall, the company announced interim results of the second study which showed the treatment group had 22% fewer deaths, but the results were met with skepticism and the company was told to finish out the trial.
Well, final results are in and Dendreon shareholders are celebrating all the way to the bank.
Provenge extended survival in late-stage prostate cancer patients with no major side effects.
The company plans to seek FDA approval for the juice later this year.
Shares of the heavily shorted stock closed at $22.94, up 94% on the day of the announcement.
Just before that, there were 2 “sell” ratings and 5 “hold” ratings among the 7 analysts who follow the biotechnology company. One analyst had set a $1 price target.
Now the chatter is which company in Big Pharmaville will acquire Dendreon and for how much.
After all, the list of pharmaceutical companies facing declining sales, generic competition and withering pipelines is longer than the line outside the toilet in coach on a flight from Boston to San Fran.
“Provenge could be on the market by mid next year, (it) could be instantly accretive to earnings,” said Joe Pantginis, of Merriman Curhan Ford & Co.
And Dendreon maintains full worldwide distribution rights for Provenge, making it even more appealing as an acquisition target.
“There are very few unencumbered assets (like Dendreon) out there,” said a salivating Sven Borho.
He’s a portfolio manager for OrbiMed Advisors which holds a cool 2 million shares of Dendreon.