If you're an investor in the pharmaceutical industry, you should realize that legal disputes are part of doing business. But it's not always generic- and branded-drug companies duking it out over patents. Sometimes it's branded-drug companies fighting among each other. And for investors in one company, those are almost a sideshow.
On Monday, Ariad Pharmaceuticals
While royalties from sales of Enbrel would have been nice to have -- sales of the drug topped $5 billion last year -- this is not what's going to drive the company forward in the future. It still has a partnership with Merck
Ariad will get an interim look at the phase 3 data at the end of this year, but unless deforolimus has a remarkable affect, the company will have to wait until next year to know if the drug works or not.
At a market cap under $200 million, Ariad looks like a cheap takeover target for Merck. That's hardly a good reason to buy the stock now, though. Merck could just as easily let it languish for a while in the hopes of picking it up even cheaper.
In the long run, the legal defeat shouldn't mean a heck of a lot for investors. Deforolimus' success or failure is what will drive the company's stock price. If the phase 3 trial is a success -- and that's the risk right there: if -- I think Ariad will double or more from this level. Those looking for a high-risk, high-reward investment can certainly find it in this company.