Thursday, July 31, 2008

VFC Has Wiped His Hands of Vanda (VNDA) and Titan (TTP)

After the bad news that hit Vanda Pharmaceuticals (VNDA) and Titan Pharmaceuticals (TTP) recently, both companies received extremely bad news from the FDA on Monday.

The FDA issued a non-approvable letter to Vanda for it's schizophrenia drug Iloperidone, or Fanapta, sending both stocks in a downward spiral, VNDA to under a buck (although it rebounded a bit today) and TTP to under fifty cents.

According to reports, the FDA based it's non-approvable letter based on the fact that Iloperidone did not offer any increase in efficacy over J&J's drug Risperdal, not based on the risk vs. reward on Iloperidone's own merit. The FDA claimed that Vanda will have to undergo an additional Phase III trial comparing Iloperidone to Risperdal to gain approval, as well as provide additional safety data at a higher dosage.

In VFC's opinion, once again the FDA showed it's true colors by backing and protecting a large Pharma at the expense of the little Pharma.

I viewed VNDA as a one-trick pony, taking a chance on the Iloperidone approval, so I wasn't heavily invested in the company, but what shares I did have I sold in the high ninety cent range, before the stock rebounded to over a dollar yesterday. Seemingly, the general consensus out there had Iloperidone being approved, so there's probably plenty of unhappy investors still hoping that Vanda will be bought out, complete the new Phase III or even pay out the company's cash to the shareholders.

One of those three things still may happen, but I'm not going to sit around and wait for any of those events; I'm not buying it from this company, and there's just as much a chance that the stock could drop further, so I'm out and moving on. The management team botched an offering at around ten bucks last year, and it looks like the trials were mis-managed also. However, the FDA was involved in the design of the Iloperidone trial, so it's somewhat surprising that they slammed the trials so much.

TTP is another story. What could have been a huge year for Titan has turned out to be the nail in TTP's coffin, in my opinion. Titan has spent no money on the Iloperidone trials but was due 10% of the take for a marketed Iloperidone. With the FDA rejection of Iloperidone and the Spheramine failure, TTP now trades below fifty cents.

On a positive note, on the same day that the Iloperidone news was released, Titan also released positive results for their Phase III trial for Probuphine to treat opiate addiction. The flip side to that is that the company will conduct an additional Phase III before going to the FDA with Probuphine. On that news I sold half of my TTP position and I'll move on. TTP is now a one trick pony, in my opinion. I'll either hold onto the other half waiting for a spike or maybe even wait on for a Probuphine to treat pain trial, but in the meantime, I'm not interested. There's plenty more out there.

The Titan and Vanda have both fallen, and I don't think they can get up from this. At least not anytime soon.

EPCT, Pump and Dump or not, I Hope You Sold! But VFC's Buying Back Again!

Not too long ago, the stock for Epicept (EPCT) was trading in the twenties (cents), and at that time I thought buying the EPCT stock at that level was a screaming buy. After returning from the VFC Family's Los Cabos vacation I saw that EPCT had hit a high of about 90 cents while I was sipping Vodka (doble) Frescas on the beach outside the Royal Solaris resort in Los Cabos. Not that I'd trade a second of that much needed vacation for anything else, but I sure wish I was near a computer (one that I could trust, not the public virus-infested computers the hotel offered), because VFC would have sold every single share that I bought in the twenties and thirties. That would have been almost a triple in such a short time, and anyone could live with a triple.

As it stood, the stock was still in the sixty cent range when I got back, so I sold off most of what I had bought in the twenties and thirties for a quick double (or a little less than a double). I'm still very confident that this company will rebound because of the six drug candidates in the pipeline and the chance that Ceplene may still garner approval in Europe. Confident as I am in the company's future, I've learned to accept a gain for a gain, and a quick double was good enough for me, so I sold a handful of shares, although I do wish I could have sold on the triple. But VFC is not greedy, and I'll be looking at buying back in when it drops into the thirties again.

There's a chance it won't drop that far again, but I have a feeling that it will after watching it plunge into the fourties today on high volume.

The final decision on Ceplene shouldn't hit the wires until October, so we could be in for some volatile trading until that time, during which time I'll be looking to sell my trading shares on any sharp spikes and buy back in on the dips. Of course I'll leave enough shares in there so I don't miss out on any unexpected good news before October; those shares being the shares I bought in the $1.40-$1.60 range. In my book, a spike at which I'll think about selling is 20%. A 50% spike or more on no news is pretty much a sure thing that I'll sell.

VFC doesn't like missing out, but I feel like I missed out when I wasn't around to sell into that spike to ninety cents!

But alas, the good life of Los Cabos called. And the tequila shots flowed.

Celsius (CSUH.OB) Brings Us Green Tea

After the VFC family's vacation to Los Cabos, it was refreshing to return and find some news from Celsius, CSUH.OB. Earlier this year the company promised us new products, product lines and a record-breaking quarter, but we haven't heard much from the company since then.

Today the top-notch (in VFC's opinion) management team gave us a Press Release detailing two new Green Tea flavours, available soon in the same distribution network that already supports the Celsius beverage.

I like the Green Tea idea. Celsius was the world's first functional calorie-burning beverage, and the only one that is backed by clinical studies and now those same benefits are available as Green Tea. The five original flavors of Celsius (Cola, Lemon-Lime, Ginger Ale, Wild Berry and Orange) are all carbonated drinks, and now Celsius' Green Tea gives consumers a non-carbonated alternative with the same benefits.

Green Tea is big these days, and the ever-growing Celsius name now has their foot in the door in that genre.

According to the Press Release, the two Green Tea flavors offered will be Peach Mango and Rasberry Acai. This will also be competition to Enviga's Green Tea brand, which I tried and did not like. I'll be looking forward to trying Celsius' Green Tea, and I imagine the new brands will be just as satisfying as the originals.

What is not entirely clear to me from the Press Release is whether or not the Green Tea flavors are actually the new product that was promised to us by the company earlier this year. These new flavors could very well be the new product, since they are non-carbonated beverages, not the carbonated Celsius drink that we've come to know and love. Carbonated drinks vs. non-carbonated drinks could be construed as two separate products. More guidance from the company as to whether this is the new product or just an addition to the original line should be forthcoming.

The Celsius name is still growing, and the Green Tea brand is now another foot in the door for the hugely popular energy drink market.

The company still does not have nationwide advertising, but by bringing on a new PR firm and sponsoring the casting calls for The Biggest Loser TV show, they're heading more towards the spotlight. Catching a celebrity or two sporting a Celsius can would do wonders for the popularity of the product. A shot of Paris Hilton or Madonna drinking Celsius in the OK!, Hello or US Weekly could double sales overnight.

One thing I'm still waiting on is an update regarding Jorge Hane. We've heard nothing from the company regarding Hane since he signed on early this year. I'm curious as to why.

VFC is still long and strong Celsius. I don't expect too much just yet, but as Celsius becomes better and better known, I do expect the stock to reach a buck a share again, eventually, or possibly a buyout by a company such as Pepsi.

For the immediate future, I'll be looking forward to quarterly results. Any significant bump in price after the release will be a nice reward for investors suffering through a tough 2008 so far.

VFC still likes the Celsius drink and stock.

Monday, July 21, 2008

DNDN; Prostate Cancer Patients Wait on the FDA and the SEC Helps Out the Little Guy For Once

Prostate Cancer patients and investors in Dendreon (DNDN), will sit glued to their computer screens throughout the second half awaiting an update on the ongoing Phase III IMPACT trial for Dendreon's Prostate Cancer immunotherapy Provenge.

The FDA has indicated that they will approve Provenge if the interim results on this trial are positive and demonstrate increased survivability for the patients. This is more than a year later after the FDA's advisory panel voted 17-0 that Provenge is safe and 13-4 that it demonstrated efficacy.

Dendreon made the news again a couple of months ago around the time that Cell Genesys Inc announced their partnership with Takeda. Cell Genesys (CEGE) has their own Prostate Cancer drug in the works, GVAX, but Provenge will beat them to market by at least a year if the current Phase III plays out well.

Care to Live (, a not-for-profit advocate of Cancer patients and investors held a nationwide rally in support of Provenge and Prostate cancer patients and hopefully the FDA heard their call. While the FDA is either wound too tight or wound up too much in big Pharma, they refuse to acknowledge this possible breakthrough in Cancer treatment with immunotherapies such as Provenge.

Russia does not have that same problem as their health regulatory agency approved Oncophage, Antigenics' Kidney Cancer immunotherapy in April. Russia and Europe may be the new destination both for companies looking to get these therapies approved and for patients looking to receive these treatments. In either case, it would make the US FDA look like a bunch of cranky cronies who can't step outside of the box.

It should be about saving and extending lives, not saving and extending the pocket book of a big pharma who offer competing treatments with harsh side effects and little hope for survival.

In other recent news, Dendreon also initiated a Phase II trial for Provenge on the use of patients with less advanced Prostate Cancer. Initially these therapies were tested on patients with little to no hope, but testing an immunotherapy such as Provenge on patients with a less advanced form of Cancer may be more beneficial, since a patient's immune system will be much stronger and in much better shape to fight the Cancer. Provenge, and other immunotherapies, train the body's immune system to fight the Cancerous cells, so common sense would indicate that a stronger immune system could fight better than one that's been beaten down for some time by Cancer and Chemo. But we'll have to let the trials tell us that, since VFC has never been accused of being too smart.

Again, Dendreon could make or break the future of Cancer treatment, and they can do that at any time during the second half. Positive interim results would be great news for investors of DNDN, but it'd be even better news for Prostate Cancer patients. It's a waiting game now.

On another note, the SEC finally helped out the Little Guy by cracking down on naked shorting. It took the big guys getting hurt to spur the SEC into action, but by them cracking down on naked shorting, the Big Boys actually have to have the borrowed shares in their possession before they can buy them back at a lower price and pocket the profit they made by going short. Dendreon is a heavily shorted stock, and heavily naked shorted, so the pop in price over the past week could very well be shorts covering their positions (regular or naked).

As the second half progresses, the price should trade up somewhat as the time for the trial update approaches, and that also includes shorts covering in anticipation of those results.

A lot going on right now with DNDN. I'll be glued to the stock pages, awaiting updates and results.

As will many investors and patients. Good luck to all.

Visit the Care to Live website for more information on Provenge and the efforts to get this immunotherapy approved.

Insmed (INSM) Update, That Didn't Take Long

Just days after Insmed (INSM) started showing signs of life with a couple of Press Releases, today the company gave us an update on the IPLEX program.

IPLEX, already FDA approved to treat short stature, is the company's closest chance at producing a revenue stream while they also work on a follow on their follow on biologics pipeline. Due to a patent infringement case won by DNA and TRCA against INSM, IPLEX is no longer an option for the treatment of short stature, although it is the superior drug since patients need only one injection a day vice the two injections for TRCA's drug.

Currently, IPLEX is enrolled in an expanded access program in Italy where, according to the Press Release, around 100 patients are treated with IPLEX to treat ALS. Insmed recovers some of their costs in this program and expects to recover almost $5 million bucks in the first half of 2008, almost as much as they recovered in all of 2007.

Insmed also reported that their Phase II trial of IPLEX to treat MMD is now fully enrolled and a large portion of the cost of that trial will be covered by a $2.1 million dollars granted to Insmed in late 2007 by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The trial is six months long, so now fully enrolled, we should hear the results early next year.

In the meantime, VFC is still accumulated INSM and I'll continue to do so while the price is this attractive. The risk-reward is great at roughly .50 cents a share, and between IPLEX and the follow on biologics pipeline, Insmed has the potential to eventually be a ten bagger, if not more. All small biotechs are risky, including Insmed, but I like the chances of an already approved drug and once Congress passes follow on legislation, Insmed should be a leader in that arena.

Partnership news could come at any time and Congress could pass legislation opening the path for follow on biologics at any time and either one of those events can cause a nice spike in the INSM share price, and we all love spikes in the prices of our shares.

The fact that INSM still does not meet Nasdaq listing requirements and needs to trade above a buck for ten consecutive days still has investors nervous. Financing is always a concer, also, and dilution is a possiblity. Insmed may be planning to release news that can get the share price above a buck (they have released quite a bit of news the last couple of weeks, and news of a partnership would do the trick), but we still can't rule out a scenario that includes dilution and a reverse split. I'm not a big fan of reverse splits, if only because that shows the company is not that close to turning itself around or producing a revenue stream, but in the case of Insmed, VFC is here for the long haul, so I'll continue my accumulation.

In my opinion, if everything goes well with the various trials, solid revenue is still at least a couple of years off, but accumulating shares up until that time could pay off big.

If there happens to be word of a partnership until that time, I'll probably sell some shares into the spike and buy back in when it goes lower and waits for more news. We can only wait and see what the future of INSM brings.

You gotta have some patience to sit back and wait for this one and not be too concerned with the day to day or week to week fluctuations.

I've got the patience for INSM, and barring any real bad news, I'll be here when INSM pays us back.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Insmed (INSM) Shows Signs of Life

VFC's follow-on biologics pic, Insmed (INSM) has shown some recent signs of life with a trio of Press Releases that can give investors the impression that the company is still alive and moving forward.

Insmed first released an update on one of it's follow-on biologics drugs INS-19, it's own version of Amgen Inc's Neupogen. The update stated that in a small study INS-19 demonstrated it's equivalence to Neupogen and the company will meet with the FDA to discuss moving forward with a late-stage study.

Currently, no path exists to bring generic drugs to market (aside from pills and capsules), but Congress is currently working on legislation that will change that. Insmed has lobbied hard to get this legislation through, and today they announced a partnership with Bill Thomas, the former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, who will serve as a strategic advisor and assist the company in bringing it's generic follow-ons to market.

Lastly, the company has retained RBC Capital Investments as it's strategic financial advisor.

Insmed currently trades under a dollar and is in receipt of a NASDAQ delisting notice, which means the company can be delisted unless it trades at a price of one dollar or more for ten consecutive trading days.

Aside from the follow ons, Insmed has Iplex, which treats MMD, ALS, ROP and HARS. Once Iplex is approved for these conditions, we could be looking at quite the windfall for a stock that trades at .53 cents right now. An update and revenue report for Iplex treating ALS in Italy could also provide a nice bump in share price.

As I've said before, I'm slowly accumulating INSM and I like the prospects of this company moving ahead. A lot of potential here, and you know how VFC likes risk-reward, and I see risk-reward here.

It's also not a one-trick pony, as Insmed has the most advanced follow-on biologics pipeline in the country and also Iplex.

Somehow the company must raise some cash real soon, hence the deal with RBC Capital, but once the financing gets sorted, INSM should be free to move up. Could be there is a partnership deal with an up front cash infusion in the works, but that's pure speculation.

VFC likes the future prospects for INSM, it's follow-on candidates and Iplex.

I'm still accumulating.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Biovest (BVTI.OB), We'll Know in September

Trading in the mid thirty cent range, Biovest is worth the risk-reward while we wait for results of the BiovaxID trial, in VFC's opinion.

Back in April, I sold out of my position of BVTI.OB for a 60% profit after the company released a cryptic PR that didn't give me a warm and fuzzy that good results from the trial were forthcoming. The company said the results would be unblinded in September and the stock price trickled down into the thirties (cents).

With September still a couple of months off, I may re-consider my decision to rid myself of the Biovest stock and buy back in at these low prices. Today, the company released another PR, and this one did sound a bit more positive regarding the trial results, but the stock price did not respond as it should have given the good news. The price did rocket up 60%, but traders and profit-takers sold and got the stock price down to .37 cents at the close.

I'm on the fence of whether or not to buy back in, but if the SIRI-XM merger goes through, or if Iloperidone gets approved, VFC will have the extra cash that will be worth putting some back into Biovest.

The market is jittery when it comes to cancer vaccines, and rightfully so after the FDA's treatment of Dendreon, and it's prostate cancer vaccine Provenge and Antigenics, whose kidney cancer vaccine Oncophage was approved in Russia, but not here in the US.

While the market did not whole-heartedly commit to confidence in Biovest today, it may be time for VFC to take the gamble again. I'm not taking a large position, but at around 40 cents, the risk-reward is just too good to pass up. We saw last year with Dendreon what could happen to a stock price when news is solid on a cancer treatment. Big money could be made.

So I'll be watching this one until the extra cash shows up, but even if the Iloperidone play or SatRad merger play don't pan out, I'll be getting back into BVTI.OB pretty soon, albeit not with too much committment.

VFC loves risk-reward, and Biovest is a good one for that right now.

Finally, We May Be Close to the XM-Siruis Merger....

Five hundred days has not been enough time to get the FCC to come to a decision regarding the XM-Sirius merger, but it looks like we could finally be close to a decision, and that decision looks like it will be to allow the two companies to merge.

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein indicated that he will vote to allow the merger if the companies agree to more stringent conditions, such as freezing prices for six years vice three and giving up more of the spectrum to minority channels.

Two of the five commissioners have already voted to approve the merger, one more vote is needed to achieve a majority. Adelstein's vote would give us that majority, and the merger would go through.

It's possible Adelstein is just piping up to spur Republican commissioner Deborah Tate into action since she's been long assumed to be the swing vote. Tate can now respond and ask for her own conditions, which probably will be a little less stringent than Adelstein's.

It's VFC's opinion that we will hear from Tate real soon and the merger will be all but a done deal maybe as soon as next week.

Once that happens we should get that nice pop in stock price that we've been waiting for.

The big boys are sure to have loaded up and covered some short positions during last month's bout with price manipulation, when the stock price dropped to under two bucks. VFC added a little bit of SIRI stock at that time, too.

I'm not predicting as high as a jump as I was when the economy was in better shape, but I can see us pushing up to three bucks pretty quick before moving higher as SIRI starts releasing some valid PRs about their plans for the future and any new technology or content that they may be sitting on now.

Five hundred days to come to a decision whether or not to allow a Satrad merger is really ridiculous, but it looks like the long wait has come to an end.

The NAB and their deep pocketbooks were able to corrupt the system long enough to make both Sirius and XM suffer along for a while, but in the end they had no case that the companies would form a monopoly.

VFC's portfolio is sitting and waiting for the news, and hopefully it brings a little payback after over a year of waiting.

VFC likes SIRI and XM right now.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Celsius (CSUH.OB), What's in Store for the Second Half?

Celsius Holdings, CSUH.OB, had a nice run-up recently where many who bought in the eight to ten cent range were able to sell out with a nice double. That move looks even better now that the stock has dropped back down to ten cents, a good place to buy back in.

As this company continues to grow, what else do we have to look forward to in the short term?

Quarterly results should be released in a week or two, and I think this quarter could be a turning point for investors, since we'll have a pretty good idea of where Celsius stands as far as gaining traction in the marketplace.

How much Celsius is being re-stocked and re-ordered after all these new distribution contracts are signed? This quarter should give us a solid answer to that question.

The large deposit from the Lebanon deal will also be counted as revenue in this reporting quarters' results, so we can be looking at a pretty good quarter.

A couple of events that could bump the stock price are also in the works.

The CEO has also been talking about a new product launch, and that new product should be revealed in the second half and provide a bump in share price if investor confidence in the new product is positive. With the distribution network already in place, it'll be a lot easier to get the new product distributed than it was for the initial drink.

Along with the new product, a new flavor of the drink has also been rumored, but I've seen nothing official on that.

Investors of CSUH.OB have also received no news on the status of the Jorge Hane deal. Hane has a large, international network in place and I'm curious to see how Celsius will fit into his weight-loss network. For now, we're still waiting in anticipation to see any follow-up to Hane's agreement to back the Celsius product.

Celsius has also grabbed a foothold in Chile, adding another international spot to the bottom line, and national awareness here in the US is also growing, albeit slowly, but methodically.

Financing will always be a concern for the short term future, but that should become less of an issue as the re-orders come in and the balance sheet grows.

Celsius Holding's management is growing the business despite a lack of solid financing, and VFC still believes patient investors will be rewarded. With the business growing and the few events listed above in the works for the second half, I can see us possibly tripling the price of the stock by the end of the year. Nothing wrong with a triple.

I'll be keeping my solid base of shares, but if we spike up to twenty cents or so again, I'll be selling out my trading shares and buy back in on any dips down.

While CSUH.OB is trading around ten cents, I think it's a great buy. Solid management and a solid product equals a good deal, in my opinion.

We just need the solid financing.

VFC likes CSUH.OB as a great second half pick.

DNDN, 2008: Looking to the Second Half

If you follow VFC's stock house at all, it'll be pretty obvious that Dendreon (DNDN) is a huge second half play, not only for the financial impact, but for the potential impact a Provenge approval would have on the current and future treatment of cancer.

I've often discussed the Provenge story here at VFC's Stock House, and the time is slowly approaching that we will see what the next chapter of the story brings.

Last year the FDA indicated that if the ongoing Provenge Phase III trials demonstrate positive mid-term results, they may be inclined to approve the prostate cancer treatment while we await final results. Interim results are due out in the second half, probably in the fourth quarter.

If Provenge demonstrates the ability to prolong the lives of prostate cancer patients, a big payday could be on the way for holders of the DNDN stock, but the approval will also heavily impact the current treatment of cancer.

Currently, the only approved cancer immunotherapy, or vaccine, is Antigenics' (AGEN) Oncophage, a kidney caner vaccine approved in Russia earlier this year. A Provenge approval in America could open the door for other cancer immunotherapies that are in the works.

The current treatment offered to advanced prostate cancer patients leaves them with terrible side effects, so terrible that many decide to live without the treatment, usually Taxatore. Provenge would be another alternative that could allow these cancer victims to live much more comfortably, as Provenge has minimal side effects and has proved to be completely safe; the FDA's advisory panel voted 17-0 last year that Provenge was safe.

On June 30th, Care to Live held a nationwide rally to bring awareness to the Provenge saga and the ongoing fight with the FDA to begin approving these immunotherapies that train the patient's own immune system to fight the cancer cells. Whether it's money, corruption, politics or just old thinking, the FDA has demonstrated a heavy resistance to approving any cancer vaccine, leaving Russia as the only country in the world to approve one.

So Dendreon has the potential to not only affect our portfolios in the second half of 2008, but an approval could begin to change the way we treat cancer. The impact will be huge on both counts, as DNDN jumped to roughly 25 bucks after the FDA's advisory panel's positive vote last year.

I've always been intrigued with Dendreon's Provenge story, and it's no different now. I've got the stock options loaded and the DNDN stock sitting in my portfolio waiting.

And for the benefit of all of those that are suffering with prostate cancer, let's hope the trials demonstrate positive results so that they can now have access to a treatment that could change everything.

VFC likes DNDN for the second half. Great risk-reward, but I'm not convinced that the FDA will approve Provenge. If the FDA decided to go to conditional approvals, Provenge would be a great candidate for that; allow the drug on the market until trials are completed, then make a final decision.

For now, however, it doesn't seem like the FDA has the inclination to move ahead and think progressively. They sit in ivory towers and refuse to think outside the box. If any government organization was in need of a makeover, it's the FDA.

Let's hope they change all that with an approval of Provenge.

EPCT, 2008: Looking to the Second Half.

The Epicept stock (EPCT) has taken quite the beating lately, trading in the high twenty cent to low thirty cent range for some time after the negative trend vote by the EMEA regarding Ceplene, a decision that the company will appeal, keeping the possibility for Ceplene approval in Europe open.

In the meantime, the stock price has crashed and the company is forced to offer shares at a price as low as .25 cents to raise the necessary cash to continue with operations.

Aside from Ceplene, the company has five other drugs to treat cancer and pain in their pipeline. That makes Epicept a great high-risk, high-reward play right now, although I thought the same thing when the stock was trading near the two dollar level.

With EPCT shares trading at this low level, it's worth trading in on dips and out on spikes to recoup any losses from the big drop, unless you've got the patience to wait this one out. I've got a lot more patience than most, so I've added to my position at these incredibly low levels, but I do intend to sell portions on any spikes, unless news comes out that keeps me all-in.

Another positive sign that I like is the fact that the EPCT.ST stock has been trading up on above average volume on the Stockholm exchange, so I wonder if they know something out there that we don't here.

Whether that is the case or not, if the company doesn't make it, I can see them getting bought out for their other five drug candidates in the pipeline in a deal similar to the Encycive (ENCY) deal, when Pfizer bought them out for over two bucks after the stock price dropped to well under a buck.

With the entire market getting hammered lately and entering into bearish territory, bargains abound all over the place, and VFC likes EPCT as one of those bargains, although it's still a high-risk play, but it's no secret that I like high-risk because of the high rewards that can come with high risk.

For now, I'll continue to add at these very low levels and wait for news at which point i'll be trading in on dips and out on spikes.

Also continue I'll continue to look out for news on the Ceplene appeal process, unless talks of a buyout show up, that's the most immediate news that has the possibility to move the stock price.
It's also possible we could get an Azixa update soon.

I like EPCT as a good second-half 2008 play, chances are we could be in for at least a double by the end of the year.

Nothing wrong with a good double.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Recent Bad News Killed Titan (TTP) and Vanda (VNDA), But....

In a recent string of bad news for Titan Pharmaceuticals and Vanda Pharmaceuticals, the prices of both stocks have been hammered since the last time I posted regarding the prospects of these two companies.

The big news driving the Titan (TTP) price per share this year would be an update on Phase II results for Spheramine trials for the treatment of Parkinsons, a pending FDA decision on whether to approve Iloperidone (Fanapta) and results of the company's Phase III trials for Probuphine.

We got the expected Spheramine update, but unfortunately the results were not positive and Bayer-Schering, with whom Titan was partnered for the Spheramine treatment, may now drop the drug altogether. Any income from Spheramine was years away, but the TTP share price still took about a 50% hit and closed the week at 73 cents.

As I've discussed before, I like investing in Pharmas and Biotechs that are developing more than just one new drug or treatment, not the one trick ponies such as Genitope (GTOP), which retain no value after a failed trial. In my years of trading in and out of TTP, I always considered Spheramine a wild card, but one that would pay off big dividends in the future if it was successful. The fact that the trials failed is disappointing, but the truth is, I'm happy to take this opportunity to double up my position and wait for the Iloperidone and Probuphine news that will come in the second half; with Iloperidone approval possible by the end of July.

With the pending FDA decision of Iloperidone looming, that's where Vanda joins the Titan party, since Titan licensed Iloperidone to Vanda. The companies generally trade up or down together with Iloperidone updates, as they both traded up in December 2006 when positive Phase III results were reported. That was a good time for VFC to sell and bank some profits before buying back in on the cheap last year.

Vanda recently reported disappointing results on a drug of it's own, one that was to treat sleep disorders, and after having a nice run-up, the VNDA stock dropped down to about the three dollar level after the bad news. With Vanda, VFC did go a little bit against the one-trick pony practice, since I never gave the sleep drugs much credit, I just considered them a bonus if they panned out. For me, VNDA was an Iloperidone play.

With the market getting hammered lately, TTP and VNDA could bring some refreshing green to the wallet with an FDA approval . I feel the chances for approval are good, but what do I know. I think TTP, trading for under a buck, is a better buy than VNDA and I've situated my portfolio to reflect that opinion, but I'm satisfied owning both stocks.

For TTP and VNDA, it's a waiting game right now. Just waiting on the FDA. Let's hope that all the bad news for these two companies is out of the way and the stock prices can now just move up.

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