A drug loses value as it gets closer to its patent exclusivity; once generic drugs come on the market, sales of the branded drug plummet. You have to look no further than Eli Lilly
So, if a drug like Amarin's
Fortunately for Amarin, that doesn't seem to be an issue anymore. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office determined that the biotech's application for a patent on its formulation of AMR101 could be granted. The stock shot up 10%, a reasonable figure given the value of the longer protection, muted slightly by the fact that there are still 16 U.S. patents across 11 patent families pending with the USPTO (and shares had already run up nearly 50% since the start of last week).
AMR101 is a fish oil that's similar to GlaxoSmithKline's Lovaza, but more pure and with apparently better effects on cholesterol levels. In addition to patenting the formulation, Amarin might be able to get a patent on the purification, although those can be harder to defend.
With the patent situation clearer, the acquisition rumors can begin to fly again. Pfizer
While I agree that Amarin will likely get taken out -- without any other pipeline drugs, it's an easy acquisition -- I wouldn't count on it happening before AMR101 gets approved around July 26. Think about it from the pharmaceutical executive's standpoint: Who wants to be the guy or gal that spent billions a few months ago to buy a drug that was just rejected by the FDA? Even with the chance of AMR101 getting turned down being minimal, it makes more sense for a pharmaceutical company to just wait for an approval and pay a little more than to be left holding the bag if an unexpected rejection comes.
Shares are twice what they were before I made a long call in CAPS over a year ago. I'm keeping that call on, but I'm fully aware that it could take another year to realize the full value of the CAPScall.
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