Speculation heats up on fate of AGI-1067

There's an intense amount of market buzz focused on AtheroGenics' lead drug candidate, AGI-1067. The wire services have noted that the company's CEO--Russell M. Medford, M.D., Ph.D (photo)--is preparing to make a presentation at the J.P. Morgan conference next Wednesday and hard data from the Phase III trial is due to be released at the ACC meeting in New Orleans, leading to some speculation that the company is working out the highlights that can be released in advance. AtheroGenics has a billion-dollar development deal with AstraZeneca for the drug, which is designed to reduce the build-up of deadly arterial plaque. For now, there's heavy options trading on the stock, with analysts expecting seismic activity for positive data.

The problem here is that the risk is extraordinarily high. In mid-December, AstraZeneca moved to tamp down all the speculation, saying that AGI-1067 had only a low probability of success. If Phase III data backs the drug's efficacy and safety, though, the companies would have a blockbuster on their hands.

- here's the release on the upcoming presentation
- here's the AFX report downplaying the drug prospect

Related Articles:
AstraZeneca sinks on late-stage trial failure. Report
AtheroGenics to deliver late-stage data on AGI-1067 in March. Report
CAT fetches $1.3B in AstraZeneca buyout. Report