Seattle Genetics Bulks Up Its Pipeline

Nothing's nicer to see than a development-stage drugmaker that advances its compounds through the clinic in a timely and smart manner. Seattle Genetics (Nasdaq: SGEN  ) has recently announced its initiation of new phase 1 studies for its anticancer drugs dubbed SGN-33 and SGN-35.

SGN-33 is in phase 1 and 2 testing as a treatment for acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes (formerly known as "preleukemia"). SGN-35 is in phase 1 testing as a treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma. Both are biopharmaceuticals. New data from SGN-33 is expected in the second half of 2008, with study results from SGN-35 coming by July.

Last year's inking of a very healthy collaboration deal with Genentech (NYSE: DNA  ) marked the start of a rapid evolution in the prospects for Seattle Genetics' lead drug, SGN-40. This compound is now set to ramp up to a total of six early and mid-stage studies in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma in combination with some of biotechs' top compounds, like Genentech's Rituxan and Millennium Pharmaceuticals' (Nasdaq: MLNM  ) Velcade.

Biopharmaceutical drugs are being valued at a premium to their small molecule counterparts, thanks to the indefinite de facto freedom from generic competition that now exists for biologics. Seattle Genetics stands out as one of the biggest development-stage pharmas with multiple unpartnered biopharmaceuticals in its pipeline that treat indications where biologics have proven themselves in the past.

All biotech investors should continue to watch closely the progress and early stage results that will be coming out later this year for Seattle Genetics' compounds.

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