Analysts give Actelion's key lung drug 63% odds of success

Swiss biotech Actelion ($ATLN) could use a win for its experimental lung drug. In need for a new product to follow its big hit Tracleer, the company's big moment for its lung disease treatment macitentan is likely to come in the second quarter when late-stage data are revealed, and analysts are giving the program a 63% chance of succeeding in the pivotal study, Bloomberg reports.

Actelion CEO Jean-Paul Clozel has a lot riding on macitentan, an experimental drug that he hopes will be better than the company's existing drug Tracleer for combating pulmonary arterial hypertension. Tracleer has lost ground to competing PAH drugs, loses patent protections in three years, and accounts for 90% of the company's revenue, Bloomberg reports. And the company has suffered a string of pipeline setbacks in recent years, making the success of macitentan all the more important to the company.

"It's make or break," top analyst Michael Leuchten of Barclays told Bloomberg. "If macitentan fails, what's left to manage?"

Rumored to be a buyout target for Amgen ($AMGN) in late 2010, Actelion's stock gains and speculation about an Amgen buyout offer fizzled out. Now the company is poised to either make a comeback or fall hard depending on how the macitentan data in PAH look.

- get more in Bloomberg's article