Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Investors Buy Up Shares of Flu Drug Makers

JR: If you will recall in the past couple of years the U.S. had paid to stockpile 10s of millions of Tamiflu as well as WHO and other countries to prepare for any emergency flu pandemic because of the 8 month time frame from start-up production to fullfil "global" needs. AND GUESS WHAT! THE SHELF LIFE OF TAMIFLU IS ONLY 36 MONTHS AND THERE IS POSSIBLY A HUNDRED MILLION DOSES STOCKPILED WORDLWIDE.
Of course there would have to be a panic created on a global scale to use up all the stockpiles before these "reserves" expire (36 MONTHS) so they can then start up new production(s) to replace the all the present "expired" global stockpiles. As always, follow the money and find there is something or someone behind every event where there are profits to be made. There has been some reports that this particular strain of "Swine Flu" is suspected to be lab created.

April 28, 2009
Investors Buy Up Shares of Flu Drug Makers

PARIS — Shares of GlaxoSmithKline and Roche, makers of prescription flu treatments, rose Monday amid expectations that the swine flu scare would lift demand for their products.

There were no immediate signs of shortages of flu drugs. Roche, the Swiss maker of Tamiflu, said Monday that the World Health Organization has enough stockpiled to treat up to 5 million people, on top of millions more doses held by governments. Tamiflu has been stockpiled for years by governments, companies and health authorities. Still, shares of Roche rose 4.1 percent in Zurich, and GlaxoSmithKline rose 5 percent in London after the W.H.O. warned that the new A (H1N1) swine flu virus, which originates in pigs, could become a pandemic. The disease has killed more than 100 people in Mexico and isolated cases have been detected in countries around the world.

The W.H.O. said Tamiflu and GlaxoSmithKline’s Relenza could be effective against the disease, while the virus was resistant to an older class of drugs, which includes amantadine and rimantadine.

Biota Holdings, the Australian company that discovered the chemical behind Relenza and licensed it to Glaxo, rose nearly 82 percent in Sydney. Chugai Pharmaceutical, a unit of Roche that markets Tamiflu in Japan, rose 14 percent Monday, while Eiken Chemical, a maker of clinical diagnostic tools, also rose 14 percent. Gilead Sciences, the California biotechnology company that invented Tamiflu, rose 3.8 percent in early New York trading Monday.

Novavax, an American vaccine maker, soared 75 percent last Friday in New York, though it was not clear if that movement reflected anything more than a rush by investors into any stock that might conceivably gain from the epidemic. It rose another 160 percent Monday in early trading.

“We’ve seen these kind of effects with outbreaks before,” said Richard Purkiss, a drug sector analyst at Atlantic Securities in London.

“Generally speaking, you get a rally in stocks that have any kind of links to influenza.”

He noted that there did not appear to be a shortage of either Relenza or Tamiflu.

“There are very significant stockpiles for those drugs already,” he said, “but if those stockpiles are distributed and used, then you’ll see replenishment of orders subsequent to the outbreak.”

Martina Rupp, a spokeswoman in Basel for Roche, said Roche had donated 5 million treatment courses of Tamiflu to the W.H.O. in 2006 for a “rapid response stockpile,” which is available on 24 hours notice. Half of that stockpile is stored in Switzerland, and the other half in the United States, she said.

Ms. Rupp said it takes about eight months to produce Tamiflu if production were to start from scratch, but because the company has stockpiled intermediate materials, it could ramp up production in weeks or months.

GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement that since the start of the outbreak, it had supplied 100,000 packs of Relenza and 170,000 additional doses of its seasonal influenza vaccine to the Mexican authorities. GlaxoSmithKline, based in London, said it was closely monitoring the situation with the W.H.O. and that it was “urgently assessing mechanisms to increase production of Relenza.”

Glaxo is also “ready to initiate discussions with local authorities for the manufacture of a vaccine to help prevent this new influenza strain, once a suitable candidate vaccine strain is available from the W.H.O.,” it said.

Sales of Relenza, which is inhaled, have outpaced Tamiflu of late as governments increase their purchases to balance stockpiles.

Mr. Purkiss cautioned that shares of vaccine makers might not hold their gains, because a long lead time is required from the identification of a virus to commercial production of a vaccine.

Relenza and Tamiflu, both neuraminidase inhibitors, are not without their dangers. They are suspected of causing neural and psychiatric side effects, including delirium and abnormal behavior, a committee of outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration said in 2007.

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