Victoza approval fuels share spike for Amylin, Alkermes

With the approval of Novo's diabetes drug Victoza yesterday, the analysts began to go into overdrive covering the implications for other biotech companies in the field. One prominent winner in all the buzz: Amylin (AMLN), which is advancing a once-a-week version of Byetta (exenatide).

"We expect Amylin shares to trade up significantly, as we believe the news increases the likelihood of approval for EQW," wrote Davis Bu, a Goldman Sachs analyst. "EQW is a long acting form of Byetta, and is partnered with Eli Lilly. We estimate the sales potential to exceed $4 billion."

And what's good for Amylin, which saw its stock surge nine percent as Novo Nordisk was also buoyed by the news, is also good for Alkermes, which provided the drug delivery technology for once-weekly exenatide. Alkermes shares (ALKS) jumped seven percent on the Victoza announcement. The FDA has a PDUFA date of March 5 for the once-weekly Byetta application.

Amylin, though, has been dogged by criticism regarding twice-daily Byetta, with analysts fretting over its lackluster sales record. "Byetta sales and prescription trends have remained flat, and we expect this news to further weaken them," said analyst Adam Cutler of Canaccord Adams yesterday.

- here's the report from the Wall Street Journal
- here's the story from BioWorld
- and here's the Dow Jones story