Alkermes takes its lumps, but is still in the game

Xconomy's Ryan McBride revisits Waltham, MA-based Alkermes ($ALKS) a few weeks after the FDA gave a second thumbs-down to Bydureon, a diabetes drug it developed with Eli Lilly and Amylin. McBride's story illustrates, in part, how too often these companies are seen as merely stock-ticker symbols by the financial press.

McBride reports that while Alkermes' stock has dropped by more than 20 percent, the level of energy at the company remains the same--along with the number of employees. "It's so interesting because when you've seen the Bydureon actions at the FDA, if you came to Alkermes, you'd realize that operationally nothing has changed," CEO Richard Pops tells Xconomy.

It was Alkermes' drug-delivery technology that drove Bydureon, although it was not clear whose technology, exactly, was responsible for the possible irregular heartbeats that caused the drug's rejection. McBride points out that Alkermes has a few other revenue streams, including from Vivitrol, which also employs Alkermes' drug delivery technology.

So, while the 23-year-old Alkermes has taken its lumps, like most biotech companies do, it cannot be written off simply based on a short-term setback or stock loss.

- read Ryan McBride's report in Xconomy