Mark your calendars, Fools: May is going to be a solid month for drug approvals.
The multiyear marathon between Schering-Plough and Vertex Pharmaceuticals
If you want to put it on your calendar, you'll need a highlighter to mark off the potential weeks that Merck could hear. If the FDA took the same amount of time to review the applications, and the two companies announced the acceptance the same amount of time after they heard from the agency -- two big ifs -- Merck's PDUFA date is May 9. Perhaps the drugmaker will give investors an exact PDUFA date on its fourth-quarter earnings call.
In the big picture, which company launches first in the U.S. or Europe -- where Merck will go up against Vertex's marketing partner Johnson & Johnson
Vertex clearly has the advantage here. While the drugs haven't been compared head to head, telaprevir appears to work better in every patient population tested so far.
While I think telaprevir is a best-in-class drug, I'm hesitant to invest because everyone else seems to think the same thing. The drugmaker has a market cap of more than $8 billion. That's substantially larger than companies like Dendreon
Morgan Housel thinks you need to learn to love volatility.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers choice. Johnson & Johnson is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick and a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Johnson & Johnson. The Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool Alpha owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.