Friday, July 25 09:35:49
There has been a mixed to negative reaction to the setback to Elan's Antegren, but a number of analysts say the news was not all bad.
Stuart Draper, head of research at Dolmen Butler Briscoe, pointed out that there were a number of important positives in the data and that the drug performed as well in the phase three trials as it did in phase two.
The problem lay in a higher than expected response rate in the placebo group, which meant that the difference between the active and placebo groups was not statistically significant at Week 10. This was the necessary condition for the trial to be defined as an unqualified success.
"It is more likely that the trial will ultimately cause a delay in bringing the drug to market than in it being binned," Draper said.
He retains a "speculative buy" rating on the stock.
Jack Gorman at Davy added that the efficacy of the treatment across other timepoints is enough for him to retain for now the Crohn's indication in his USD8-10 valuation on the stock. The shares closed at USD4.47 in New York overnight, down more than 30pc.
But Ian Hunter at Goodbody has reduced his rating on Elan to "reduce" from "add", saying that the results greatly reduce Antegren's prospects of coming to the market until at least 2006, while concurrently increasing potential research costs.
In addition, both Elan and Biogen indicated that the probability of any news flow on Antegren against Multiple Sclerosis by the end of the year is "zero", Hunter added.
He plans to retain the lower rating at least until Elan resolves its
issues with the SEC and publishes its delayed 20-F annual report.
Copyright © 2003, Media World Ltd.