What's the best way for a drugmaker launching its first drug to get out of the gate quickly? Rent a sales force from a buddy in the industry.
Cubist sells an antibiotic called Cubicin, but it treats a different type of bacterial infections, so the two drugs won't compete with each other. It's a smart move by both companies. Optimer gets better coverage of doctors and Cubist gets to make better use of its sales force. Which company will ultimately benefit more isn't clear since the level of sales required to reach the incentives weren't disclosed.
Dificid went in front of a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel meeting yesterday. As expected, the panel of experts was wildly supportive of approving the drug. They argued a little more about whether the data suggesting that Dificid prevents recurrences of the infection is clinically meaningful, splitting six to six with one abstention.
The latter is important because the recurrence data is one of the main benefits of using Dificid over ViroPharma's
Whether it's on the label or not, it seems extremely likely that Dificid will be approved. The deal today should help Optimer ramp up sales quicker than it could on its own, but the label will likely make a big difference as well.
The advisory panel was supposed to remove a lot of uncertainty in the stock. Unfortunately it looks like investors are in for a rocky ride up through the PDUFA decision date on May 30.
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