Dendreon’s Provenge Launch Story Enters Second Chapter, With Today’s Earnings Call
Dendreon, the Seattle-based cancer drug developer that people either love or love to hate, is going to provide a lot more grist for debate later today.
The company is preparing to release its third quarter financial report today at the close of markets, and will host a webcast conference call at 4:30 pm Eastern/1:30 pm Pacific to discuss the performance with investors. This report is a big deal to followers of Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN) because it will say a lot about how well the company is doing at selling its first-of-a-kind immune boosting treatment for prostate cancer, and how it is managing potentially serious future obstacles like Medicare reimbursement and a manufacturing shortage.
Expectations have been riding high ever since Dendreon won FDA approval in April to market sipuleucel-T (Provenge), as the first treatment to actively stimulate the immune system to fight cancer cells like a foreign virus. Lots of analysts started talking about billion-dollar projections, and Dendreon’s market valuation has soared to more than $5 billion. The company, however, sought to put a limit on those sky-high hopes earlier this year because it only has enough manufacturing capacity to serve about 2,000 patients in the first year. The drug generated $2.8 million in sales in the quarter that ended June 30, although Dendreon has shown there’s strong demand for the product, as indicated by $5.2 million in sales in July alone. Wall Street analysts are now expecting just under $24 million in sales for the quarter that ended September 30, according to this report from TheStreet.com’s Adam Feuerstein.
Once people get past the Provenge sales number, and possibly the month-by-month sales trajectory, Dendreon’s management will surely be asked to talk about two key elements of the business for the future—Medicare and manufacturing.
Dendreon has set the price of Provenge at $93,000 per patient for a complete course of therapy, which certainly doesn’t sit well with critics of high drug prices. Now the company is getting ready to justify that cost to the most important purchaser of drugs for U.S. men over 65—the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The agency is holding a public hearing on November 17 to discuss the strength of the evidence to support use of Provenge, and to raise sticky questions … Next Page »