Alder and New Partner, Bristol, to Give Amgen and Abbott a Run for Their Money

11/11/09Follow @xconomy

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faster, making much better use of all the expensive fermentation equipment that biotech companies already have invested millions of dollars to build, Schatzman has said.

If there’s ever going to be a moment when it’s favorable for biotech companies at this early of development to go public, Alder is going to keep its eyes open for that opportunity, Schatzman says. Alder hasn’t filed a prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Bristol deal means it doesn’t have an urgent need for cash. But Alder is going to monitor the markets for the right moment that might offer returns for the company’s venture investors, Schatzman says.

There is still a long road ahead in drug development before investors will likely be interested in something this speculative. Schatzman noted that the FDA standard for a new rheumatoid arthritis drug is about 2,500 patient-years on therapy—way beyond the scope of something a startup biotech could handle. In the original Xconomy profile of Alder, he noted that it would likely be 2013 before ALD518 could reach the marketplace.

Drug development is a long and risky journey, as Schatzman, a molecular pharmacologist, knows well from his past experience at Celltech R&D, Roche, and Mercator Genetics. That’s why getting a serious partner for the long haul is so crucial if Alder is ever going to realize its dreams of someday creating a drug that’s compelling enough for patients that it can really compete against the Amgens and Abbott Labs of the world.

“This is really a validation by a Big Pharma company that our technology is on the right track,” Schatzman says.

When asked if Alder has the potential to grow into the next dynamic biotech company in Seattle, he says, “We’d like it to be. We think the potential is there.”

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