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NEW YORK (AP) — ImmunoGen Inc. shares rose Wednesday after a Cowen & Co. analyst said the company has several other promising drug candidates in addition to its T-DM1 breast cancer treatment.
THE SPARK: Analyst Simos Simeonidis began covering the stock with an "Outperform" rating. Simeonidis said he expects the Food and Drug Administration to approve T-DM1 in mid-2013, and forecasts strong sales of the drug as a secondary treatment for metastatic breast cancer and possibly as a primary treatment for the disease as well.
He said the current price of ImmunoGen shares is mostly based expected royalties from T-DM1 and does not include the other cancer drugs ImmunoGen is developing.
THE BIG PICTURE: T-DM1 combines the drug trastuzumab, which is the main ingredient in Roche's cancer drug Herceptin, with a second drug and a chemical that keeps the drugs linked until they reach a cancer cell, where the cocktail can be released. ImmunoGen developed the technology that combined the drugs. Roche plans to file for marketing approval of T-DM1 in the U.S. and Europe later in 2012. If the drug is approved, ImmunoGen will get royalty payments on those sales.
Simeonidis said sales of T-DM1 could eventually reach those of Herceptin. Roche reported around $3 billion in sales of that drug over the first six months of 2012.
"Since it will probably be priced at a meaningful premium to Herceptin, we think T-DM1 could end up as one of the biggest biotech drugs," he wrote.
ImmunoGen is also studying treatments for solid tumors, lung cancer, multiple myeloma, and other conditions. Before the end of 2012 Simeonidis said the company will report clinical data from its most advanced drug candidate other than T-DM1, a lymphoma drug called SAR3419. It is developing that drug through a partnership with French drugmaker Sanofi.
The Waltham, Mass., company also has partnerships with Amgen Inc., Bayer AG, and Biotest Pharmaceuticals Corp.
SHARE ACTION: Shares of ImmunoGen rose 48 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $14 in midday trading. The stock is down 22 percent since ImmunoGen announced a stock offering on July 12. Shares reached an all-time high of $18.10 on July 10.