Alkermes stock upgrade validates drug-delivery focus

FierceDrugDelivery does not ordinarily concern itself too much with company stock prices or financials and prefers, instead, to focus on pure drug-delivery technology wherever it is found. But it should be noted here that UBS has upgraded the stock of Waltham, MA-based drug-delivery company Alkermes ($ALKS) to "buy" from "neutral."

According to The Associated Press, analyst Ami Fadia predicts that the company should rake in more than $4 billion in worldwide sales by 2016, boosted by its pending acquisition of Elan Drug Technologies. The article notes that the company expects FDA approval by January of Bydureon, Eli Lilly ($LLY) and Amylin's ($AMLN) once-a-week diabetes treatment. The drug uses Alkermes's polymer microsphere technology to make it last longer, and Alkermes is due royalties on potential sales of the product.

With the Elan deal, Alkermes will inherit NanoCrystal technology, which essentially is a milling technique that breaks down drug crystal sizes to less than 2,000 nanometers allowing for better drug solubility. Alkermes' expertise lies in its long-acting injectable drugs.

Alkermes CEO Richard Pops recently told FierceBiotech that the company is looking to break into the ranks of the large biotechs. "There's a lot more scale, more room to move" now, Pops told FierceBiotech. Instead of having one or two big assets in R&D which have to be partnered out in order to survive, Alkermes can be more selective about collaborations. And the company will no longer rely on just one product to deliver the bulk of its revenue."

- read The Associated Press story
- and a report in Financial News Network