Were you one of those Genentech
After getting a somewhat surprising accelerated approval to expand Avastin's label to treat breast cancer, Genentech increased the lower end of its non-GAAP earnings guidance for this year to $3.35 to $3.45 per share. Avastin isn't the only top Genentech drug with significant news.
In the second quarter, look for phase 2 and phase 3 results from Genentech's second-most important drug, Rituxan, in primary progressive multiple sclerosis. (Biogen Idec
The last part of the conference call, during which company officials took analysts' questions, was perhaps the most interesting part. One analyst asked what the company would do with the more than $6 billion and growing cash and investments on its balance sheet.
The weakness in the overall stock market has extended to some development-stage drugmakers. Genentech said that lately, it has received a "pretty healthy" number of calls from such drugmakers, most with roughly $500 million market caps, that want to work out partnership or other deals, rather than trying to raise more cash in the stock market. The difficulty in raising capital is obviously good news for drugmakers with plenty of cash on their balance sheets, like Genentech, because it allows them to get better deals for partnerships.
Genentech also got a question on the growing number of combination cancer treatments in its pipeline, and whether that signaled a weakening research and development environment. In a spirited response, Genentech officials said that the number of new molecules in its pipeline being tested in combination treatments instead reflects that oncology treatment will look more and more like AIDS treatments, with combination drug cocktails attacking the affliction from multiple angles.
Combination cancer-drug treatment already often occurs in real life, with different chemotherapy combinations and targeted therapies like Avastin. But officials from Genentech and other companies like Exelixis
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