Last week, exciting biopharma ViroPharma
Sales of ViroPharma's only marketed product, the oral antibiotic Vancocin, were up 28% year over year in the second quarter to $56 million. Net income was up more than 80% to $31.6 million, or $0.39 per share on a diluted basis.
Because of two ongoing phase 3 studies for its transplant drug maribavir and other R&D expenditures, the second half of the year won't be as strong financially as the first half was. But even on the low end of its guidance, ViroPharma expects to bring in approximately $100 million in net income for the year, or about $1.18 in diluted earnings per share for 2007, at today's share count.
Potential competitor Idenix Pharmaceuticals
Late last year, the partners announced positive phase 1b study results for HCV-796. In May, ViroPharma completed enrollment of the initial treatment groups for a phase 2 study of the drug. Data from four weeks of dosing is expected this quarter, which will give an initial idea of whether the drug is reducing hepatitis C viral load as expected. Vital 12-week patient dosing of the drug will come in the fourth quarter, which should give investors a better idea of how HCV-796 compares with existing treatments in eliminating the hepatitis C virus from the body.
ViroPharma has an enterprise value of nearly $700 million. Considering that its lead drug is highly profitable and has two strong pipeline candidates in development, shares of ViroPharma don't look expensive.
ViroPharma guided for a potential maribavir FDA regulatory filing in 2009 and a similar timeframe for a European Union marketing application as well. All it would take is for one success with its pipeline, or the failure of a generic Vancocin to appear, and shares of ViroPharma would look like a steal at today's prices. Investors might not get to wait that long, though; ViroPharma would be a perfect fit for an acquirer such as Gilead Sciences
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