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BioTech Navigator Investment Newsletter - 01 01 News Color (Page 13)

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BioTech Navigator Investment Newsletter - 01 01 News Color
mors. Aranesp increases hemoglobin
and decreases the need for transfu-
sions. Current standard of care re-
quires that cancer patients receive in-
jections of the currently available ane-
mia therapy three times every week,
although many patients are receiving
just weekly injections.
On December 18, Amgen and
Immunomedics announced that the
companies have signed an agreement
to license to Amgen a novel cancer
therapeutic antibody for the treatment
of low-grade and aggressive non-
Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), devel-
oped by Immunomedics. The human-
ized antibody, Epratuzumab, is being
studied in a pivotal clinical trial to
treat low-grade NHL patients who
either do not respond, or who do not
have a durable response, to the cur-
rently available antibody therapy, Ri-
tuxan (IDEC/Genentech). Epratuzu-
mab will also be studied in a pivotal
trial in patients with aggressive NHL
who have previously received other
therapy. Epratuzumab is also in a
Phase I/II study in combination with
Rituxan in low-grade and aggressive
NHL patients who have not previously
been treated with an antibody-based
Early-phase clinical studies sug-
gest that Epratuzumab may provide
greater ease of administration than
Rituxan by having a shorter infusion
time. Epratuzumab binds to a differ-
ent cell-surface protein (CD22) than
Rituxan (CD20).

December 4, studies were re-
leased on
Celgene's (BSR #39: Phase
III Cancer) Thalomid at the American
Wall Street is anticipating a slow
down of the economy and worse yet, a
recession. Uncertainty abounds. Can
the pharmaceutical companies, who
lately have had a nice run, sustain
their momentum? And when Celera
publishes its paper on mapping the
human genome in
Science early next
year -- will that be the catalyst to
cause a rotation out of Big Pharma
back into biotechs?
Lately, so much speculation has
been factored into the market and
translating into apprehension that the
valuation of biotech stocks appears to
be in limbo. Factors such as the value
of patent/intellectual property or the
impact of genomics continue to loom
and instill questions about biotechs'
future. Currently the market's vision
is clouded with short-term outlooks,
but remember, in the year 2000, many
biotech companies, were able to line
their accounts with cash to be used to
move forward in businesses, and de-
veloping their businesses. Investors
of biotechs must remember, current
therapeutics treat the "symptoms" of
the disease, not the underlying
mechanism of the disease itself. The
biotech movement goal is toward un-
derstanding the disease, thus improv-
ing upon existing treatments finding
On December 28,
Abgenix (BSR
#35: Psoriasis) started a Phase IIa
multi-center clinical trial of ABX-IL8
iin patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
The Phase IIa trial is a double-blind,
placebo-controlled study designed to
evaluate the efficacy and safety of
ABX-IL8 in rheumatoid arthritis. The
company is also conducting a Phase
IIa clinical trial with ABX-IL8 in pa-
tients with moderate-to-severe psoria-
sis, and expects to report results of
this study in the first quarter of 2001.
December 4,
Alexion (BSR #31:
Transplantation) announced preclini-
cal data at the American Society of
Hematology showing that its anti-
inflammatory C5 Inhibitor signifi-
cantly prevented loss of platelets, im-
portant blood cells responsible for
normal clotting, in chronic immune
thrombocytopenia purpura. The re-
sults suggest that C5 Inhibitor may
substantially prevent clotting compli-
cations with other autoimmune disor-
ders, as well as lupus, and thrombocy-
topenic purpura. If successfully devel-
oped, these results would further
broaden Alexion's portfolio of autoim-
mune disorders potentially address-
able with its C5 Inhibitor therapy,
which currently includes five different
clinical autoimmune disease pro-
Alexion's technology is prom-
ising, but shares are still trading at
lofty prices.
December 4,
Amgen (BSR #42:
Obesity) presented clinical data at the
American Society of Hematology, that
Aranesp appeared to be effective
given just once every three weeks to
anemic cancer patients with solid tu-
BioTech Sage Report, January 2001
BioTech Stock Updates
This section is to update and inform our readers
on the status of those stocks that are in our Bio-

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