Analysts turn bearish on Roche's taspoglutide prospects

After initially tapping taspoglutide as the latest in a string of likely blockbusters-to-be from Roche, analysts are turning sour on the drug's prospects after gaining a close look at the side effect data presented by researchers over the weekend.

The once highly touted diabetes drug prospect was put through the ringer earlier in the month when Roche said that it needed to amend trials to watch for side effects like vomiting and nausea, delaying any app for up to 18 months. But a look at the data presented over the weekend at the American Diabetes Association meeting left analysts doubtful that the drug can ever gain marketing approval.

"The full data presentation suggest that taspoglutide's side-effect profile may be worse," said Annie Cheng, an analyst for Bryan, Garnier. Cheng, once bullish about the therapy's blockbuster potential, reduced her estimate on the likelihood of an FDA approval from 60 percent to only 10 percent. That's also bad news for Ipsen, which licensed the drug to Roche.

"We rate the possibility that Roche hands the drug back to Ipsen at around 50 percent," noted Morgan Stanley, according to a report from Dow Jones. "Roche's sub-optimal development for taspoglutde raises questions about the integrity of the development programs for their other large phase III programs."

- here's the story from Dow Jones