Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Epicept (EPCT) Has a Partner for Ceplene, But is it the One Investors are Waiting For?

Epicept Corporation (EPCT) announced on Tuesday that a partner has been found for Ceplene, the company's drug that is approved in the European Union for maintenance therapy for adult patients with AML in first remission. However, the partnership agreement is not in preparation for the commercial launch of Ceplene in Europe that is to take place later this year, but one for a named patient program that will make the drug available for compassionate use in most worldwide markets, excluding the United States.

For nearly a year now, Jack Talley, CEO of Epicept, has stated that the company is in advanced negotiations with a prospective marketing partner for Ceplene in Europe, but one has yet to emerge. As the search continues, the UK-based private firm IDIS will be the exclusive supplier of Ceplene for a named patient program that will allow Epicept to draw revenue while still preparing for the commercial launch.

Since Epicept has been somewhat silent since last year's Ceplene approval in Europe, this latest news release can only be viewed as a positive. Not only does it let investors know that management is, in fact, alive, but it ensures that a revenue stream will begin rolling in as the curious search for a marketing partner continues.

Even while confidence in the management of this company dwindles with every day that a partner is not announced, the time to buy EPCT for under a dollar may be short.

This week Antigenics (AGEN) demonstrated how quickly a stock can rebound when the right news is released and EPCT has been inching up slowly on increasing volume, so it's likely that the company is preparing to release additional news.

The recent market rebound has money pouring back into speculative stocks and EPCT, with a drug approval under it's belt, could be a beneficiary of the new money.

The named patient program is good news, but investors are still waiting on the real partner- the one that Epicept needs to launch their product.

Until that news comes, it's hard to imagine that the management team at Epicept is long on words and short on action.

VFC is long EPCT.



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