Archive for the ‘biotech’ Category

This morning’s Globe story about Biogen notes that its stock has declined by about 14 percent since it hit the sale block around mid-October. All of this seems to be due to the fact that people aren’t really sure that a deal will be made for Biogen. The Globe quotes one analyst’s optimism about a sale, and then sort of glosses over Biogen’s past:

But some stock watchers are nervous about Tysabri, because Biogen Idec temporarily yanked the drug off the market two years ago after it was linked to a rare brain disease.

Yeah, rare brain disease may not be clear enough here. At least two people using Tysabri–a highly-touted MS drug–died from this disease. The drug was voluntarily removed from the market, but then introduced again with the expectation that more people could die as well:

The Food and Drug Administration acknowledged the likelihood of additional deaths from the drug, despite the new rules on its use.

A strong argument can be made that these people need all the help they can get and if they are willing to accept the risk, so be it. (From Med Ad News, June 2006, sub req):

A survey conducted by Jack Calfee, Ph.D., resident scholar, The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, showed that a majority of multiple-sclerosis patients were willing to take a drug that posed a 1 in 1,000 risk of death. According to his survey, 57% of patients either definitely would or probably would take the drug, compared with 44% definitely not or probably not willing to take the drug.

Still, these kinds of mortal side effects–no matter the greater good caused–could cause any investor to be shaky.


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