Cancer is characterized by a group of abnormal cells that grow and replicate uncontrollably. These cells’ rapid replication allows them to invade adjacent tissues and organs and even spread to other parts of the body. As they replicate, they can crowd out organs, preventing the body’s essential processes from occurring normally. Cancer, if left untreated, can hinder the body’s organs from performing their functions enough to cause death.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2009. Figures 1 and 2 show the Male and Female breakdown of different cancer types from the CDC (as of 2006) and we can understand why now prostate and breast cancer research top the list. Next comes lung, and Figure 3 shows a adenocarcinoma in the lung.
Number of deaths for leading causes of death:
Heart disease: 631,636
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 137,119
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,583
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 121,599
Alzheimer’s disease: 72,432
Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,326
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,344
Figure 1. Top 10 Cancers: Male
Figure 2. Top 10 Cancers: Female
Figure 3. Adenocarcinoma – Lung cancer
For about 40 years, the pharmaceutical and government sponsored research have waged a war on cancer, and many think that it has been a failure as the age-adjusted mortality rate for cancer is essentially unchanged over that time. But that’s a deceptive metric. S. Dubner points out that the "flat mortality rate actually hides some good news. Over the same period, age-adjusted mortality from cardiovascular disease has plummeted, from nearly 600 people per 100,000 to well below 300. What does this mean? Many people who in previous generations would have died from heart disease are now living long enough to die from cancer instead."
BusinessWeek had an article on the costs of life, and as the population ages and the baby boomers start to retire, how are we to think about the costs associated with fighting cancer?
Eric C. Sun et al. (“An Economic Evaluation of the War on Cancer” (link) 2010) attempt to measure the degree to which R&D spending on cancer has benefited not only the life expectancy, but also the social and economic value to the economy.
For decades, the U.S. public and private sectors have committed substantial resources towards cancer research, but the societal
This is a brief article of where the pharmaceutical industry has been, and where it could be headed in the near future. In contrast to past articles where I focused on the pipelines of GSK, LLY, MRK, BMY and ‘biotechs’ GENZ, GILD, and others, this is a summary of the industry. The overall market continues its grind up and I am gun-shy of its continued direction, but with the passage of the health care bill, biotechs that serve niche markets will be well positioned to see a rise both in stock price and potential M&A activity. In addition, as noted on Friday, March 19th on the laggers/leaders of the past month or so, Telecom and Healthcare were at the bottom of the pile. For the review of Big Pharma and some biotech picks at the end, generic companies are excluded from most data (Merck KGaA, Mylan, Teva and Watson).
From 2002 to 2009, the top pharmaceutical companies by sales had growth rates greater than 12% (compounded annually). Unfortunately, this growth is not sustainable and should move towards flat to nominal growth by 2014. The growth decline will challenge these companies to seek more profitable routes, including licensing and acquisitions. Picking the right companies based upon the science is at the forefront of good investing. Not they will all succeed because the science is sound, but understanding the molecule, target, and the disease helps guide smart decisions. Good management helps as well!
Let's start with a summary of potential acquirers. Table 1 is a list of the 15 largest pharmaceutical and biotech companies ranked by healthcare revenue. Some companies (e.g., Bayer and Johnson) have additional revenue which is not included the sales data.
I went back over our Long Shots list from August 9th, thinking all our picks must be doing great but really only C, with a 67% gain, is really outperforming. Long spreads on UYG and BHI are on target for nice gains but haven’t moved much. Looking at our original picks in Pharmboys Phavorites from the same week, GSK is on track and up nicely already, our AZN cover is up 45% and MRK flew up 19% already. On the riskier Biotech side, ARIA’s stock is up 16% and our spreads are all performing well, ONTY has been flat, OGXI is up 33% and the Jan $17.50s are up a rockin’ 63% with that "cautious" spread up a surprising 75% already.
SPPI had a wild ride (as we predicted with TSCM’s failed assassination attempt) and the buy/write is already up 24%, the Feb vertical is up 50% and the naked Jan put sale is up 27% and our Feb hedge play is right on track so all good there and a fine example of how following Cramer and his lackeys and and doing the opposite of what they say can be very profitable! Congrats to Pharmboy for a very fine set of picks, proving once again that there is room for research and fundamentals - not a single loser in the bunch in a choppy market! It was very timely as I had mentioned just that week in my interview with AOL Finance that XLV was my favorite sector and our IHI pick of 8/10 is up 28% on the naked Feb $45 put sale while the Feb $45 calls have already jumped 16%. It was a great call as IHI outperformed XLV and all our major indexes.
So our energy service pick (BHI) and overall financial pick (UYG) have not done much in 3 weeks and those were our leading sectors into my call to cash out our exposed long calls on Aug 13th, ahead of expirations. The Dow was at 9,400 on that day and now, a bit more than 2 weeks later, we’ve gained another 144 points but to listen to the MSM, you would think you are missing the rally of the century the past couple of weeks. This is one of the reasons I’ve gotten a bit more cynical about the rally – there is so much hype and so…
This is my first shot at writing a formal post for everyone on a few biotech/pharma picks that I believe have promise for nice returns over the next 6 to 18 months.Much of the work here is a compilation of readings elsewhere, summarized for you all to make your own conclusions.Here we go:
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) – has a robust pipeline in inflammation, cancer and other therapeutic areas.A few line extensions could do well generic simvistatin (Zocor) + Avandia) for cardio/diabetes.Will compete against Vytorin, and others like it.In the pipeline, GSK has an Orexin antagonist for sleep disorders (very hot area), several drugs for asthma/COPD in Phase II including a PDE-4 and FLAP inhibitor.The asthma/COPD drugs have huge potential as a monotherapy or in some combination, as they are the newest line of therapies that have come along for asthma/COPD in some time (GSKs strength). GSK also has a VLA4 antagonist for multiple sclerosis in phase II.
This is the first I have seen of this in a pipeline for clinical trials.VLA4 is the target of Tysabri from BIIB.One hypothesis is that a small molecule that binds to the receptor but does not completely knock out the receptor like a mAb may be better for MS patients.Remember, Tysabri has a potential of a rare neurological condition progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) when administered in combination with interferon beta-1a, another immunosuppressive drug often used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
One other note for growth, Amgen (AMGN) revealed its commercialization strategy for osteoporosis treatment, denosumab, one of the most keenly anticipated new drugs set to reach the market for several years, naming GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as partner in Europe and other countries.GSK has several cancer treatments as well as vaccines in various stages, so it is my belief that their pipeline is rich and diverse. Current yield is 4.8%.
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
The S&P 500 oscillated a bit during its opening hour, hitting its -0.23% intraday low in the first 30 minutes of trading. The index then rose in a couple of waves to its 0.71% closing gain, fractionally off its 0.74% intraday high. This was a big week for the 500, surging 4.12% and nearly erasing its October loss, which now stands at -0.39%. It is now only 2.33% from its record close on September 18th.
The yield on the 10-year Note closed at 2.29%, unchanged from yesterday's close and up 7 bps from last Friday's close.
Here is a 15-minute chart of the week.
On the daily chart below we see that volume was relatively light -- the first daily gain with volume below its 50-day moving average since September 26th. Today's closing price is just a hair below its 50-day day moving average.
If you're following Valeant's proposed takeover (or merger) of Allergan and the lawsuit by Allergan against Valeant and notorious hedge fund manager William Ackman, for insider trading this is a must-read article.
Linette Lopez describes the roles played by key Wall Street hedge fund owners--Jim Chanos, John Paulson, and Mason Morfit, a major shareholder in Valeant. Linette goes through the con...
There is lots of action in Southwest Airlines Co. November expiry call options today ahead of the air carrier’s third-quarter earnings report prior to the opening bell on Thursday. Among the large block trades initiated throughout the trading session, there appears to be at least one options market participant establishing a call spread in far out of the money options. It looks like the trader purchased a 4,000-lot Nov 37/39 call spread at a net premium of $0.40 apiece. The trade makes money if shares in Southwest rally 9.0% over the current price of $34.32 to exceed the effective breakeven point at $37.40, with maximum potential profits of $1.60 per contract available in the event that shares jump more than 13% to $39.00 by expiration. In September, the stock tou...
Last week brought even more stock market weakness and volatility as the selloff became self-perpetuating, with nobody mid-day on Wednesday wanting to be the last guy left holding equities. Hedge funds and other weak holders exacerbated the situation. But the extreme volatility and panic selling finally led some bulls (along with many corporate insiders) to summon a little backbone and buy into weakness, and the market finished the week on a high note, with continued momentum likely into the first part of this week.
Despite concerns about global economic growth and a persistent lack of inflation, especially given all the global quantitative easing, fundamentals for U.S. stocks still look good, and I believe this overdue correction ultimately will shape up to be a great buying opportunity -- i.e., th...
Now that bitcoin has subsided from speculative bubble to functioning currency (see the price chart below), it’s safe for non-speculators to explore the whole “cryptocurrency” thing. So…is bitcoin or one of its growing list of competitors a useful addition to the average person’s array of bank accounts and credit cards — or is it a replacement for most of those things? And how does one make this transition?
With his usual excellent timing, London-based financial writer/actor/stand-up comic Dominic Frisby has just released Bitcoin: The Future of Money? in which he explains all this in terms most readers will have no tr...
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Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely. From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.
First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices. Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment. Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer. For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...
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