Post of the Day
October 6, 1998

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Subject: Re: Buyout Rumors
Author: URGataChow

I highly doubt Agouron's cold treatment/prevention compound, AG7088, becoming the biggest discovery of the decade. Why? Well, lets start simple. Let's analyze the situation...

  1. This is fantastic news. If this hasn't silenced the critics about Agouron's "weak" pipeline then nothing will, that is unless the upcoming Remune data is much better than anticipated for.
  2. Agouron is progressing AG7088 testing it in just about every single strain of rhinovirus they can get their hands on. To date, that makes 46 different strains they have tested on out of over 100. And what were the results? AG7088 demonstrated highly active antiviral potency against all 46 strains. That is marvelous, and hopefully it can be used to treat just about all existing strains of RHV.
  3. This treatment is used for the rhinovirus strain. Although cases of rhinoviruses singlehandedly account for more than half of all cold cases, it will never be a "cure" for the cold, because guess what, AG7088 is for rhinoviruses, not the other forms that contract the cold. Still, over half of cases reported for a drug indicates huge market potential, but certainly not the long searched cure we've been searching for, possibly a cure against the rhinoviruses, though.
  4. Agouron has stated that AG7088 will be a nasaly administered treatment. Not a more convenient, easy to administer, pill. A minor setback in the drug delivery form, but still, nasal is better than injection.
  5.   "If AG7088... ...manages to get through the clinic and passed by the FDA, I'd say has sales potential of anywhere from $500-$1,500 million."

  6. It has already been proclaimed by the medical community that AG7088 will be "compassionately used" for patients. That means, your everyday schmoe walking on in with a cold won't likely be prescribed the medication unless he/she demands of it. Patients get what they want nowadays, so who knows, maybe the drug will be at high demand by the public, but not by the medical experts, yet. AG7088 appears to be moe swayed towards being prescribed for the more serious contractions of the virus that infected yet still millions annually, especially the elderly.
  7. Not only does AG7088 treat the cold, it also prevents it from initiating itself as the scientists working on the project claim. What can I say other than that impresses me greatly if the drug is capable of getting to the pharmacy shelves.
  8. Media misinterpretation. Those are the two biggest words surrounding this scenario. I was searching on the net and found articles with titles ranging from, "A Cure for the Common Cold? Researchers Close in." to "A Cure for the Cold is in the Clinic." The media appears to have been misdirected once again as with the EntreMed and is "cancer cures" story, although this time not as severely. This isn't a cure, not yet anyways. The scientists at Agouron are hoping for it, but lets not jump to conclusions yet.
  9. May I remind you, the data presented was excellent, but it was also preclinical. Many other compounds have found there way through the preclinical studies and passed with flying colors, but were busts where it really counted, when tested on humans.
  10.   "Who knows? Thats whats so great about this market. You never know."

  11. Since chimps are the only other lab specimens able to have the compound tested on, Agouron plans to progress AG7088 into human trials between the end of this year and early 1999. It won't take long for us to find out if this drug is a boom or a bust.
Nonetheless, the events taking place recently have been all the more exciting and I hope to see more of it in the coming weeks, months, and years still remaining before us. If AG7088 despite all the hurdles it remains to face, manages to get through the clinic and passed by the FDA, I'd say has sales potential of anywhere from $500-$1,500 million.

And if AG7088 gets to the market, by then, Agouron will be so big, it may only have to outlicense marketing rights in some of the Southeast Asian countries (Japan). Don't forget, Agouron has a full pipeline ahead of this cold: AG2034 (trials temporarily halted pending the movement of the 2nd generation GARFT inhibitor, AG2037, into Phase I trials), S-1153, AG3340 (age-related macular degeneration), AG3340 (angiogenesis), and Remune. As well, the AICART, Neuropeptide Y, and JE-2147 projects are progressing through late stage preclinical studies as well.

Agouron does stand as a very probable acquisition candidate. A company of this nature, with the technology they possess, and the successful drugs, along with the management, sales force, and pipeline, all make for a very tempting play for a larger company looking to expand its horizons, perhaps Dupont? We don't know, what we do know, however, is that Agouron does not want to be bought out. It wants to prosper on its own, and from how I understand this company if any acquisitions are to be done, Agouron will be doing the acquiring. In the biotech field, I can see Agouron making a complimentary fit with just about anybody, in particular I outline Sugen and Immune Response as possible likelihoods. Who knows? Thats whats so great about this market. You never know.


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