Pharmas Market with Mike Huckman

Bear Stearns' Amgen Call  Brings On More Gallows Humor

This morning, Bear Stearns biotech analyst Mark Schoenebaum and a couple of members of his research team hosted a conference call with a 50-page PowerPoint about Amgen .

The purpose was to drill down into the looming court decision over whether Roche will be able to launch a competing anemia drug in the U.S. for kidney dialysis patients.

AMGN's rallying today, but fear about the ruling is part of what's pushed the shares to multi-year lows in recent days. Schoenebaum says if the judge decides that Roche can come to market, Amgen most definitely will appeal. But unless the company can win a stay at the appellate level he believes, the Roche drug reppresents a serious threat to Amgen's $3 billion-a-year kidney dialysis-related anemia drug franchise.

For every $100 million in lost sales, Bear Stearns estimates Amgen stands to lose seven cents in earnings per share. But it'll get two cents back in the presumed royalty for every $100 million in Roche sales.

You may recall from a recent post that Schoenebaum is the one who joked at the Genentech analyst meeting that he might soon need to hit up DNA for a job.

Well, he's still apparently got a sense of humor about the whole situation because he kicked off the call this morning--interspersed with chuckles--by saying: "On a separate note, we all need jobs. So, if any of you are hiring please let us know. And I may not be an analyst in a few weeks for all I know. So, if any of you don't like my work, this is your opportunity to make sure you get that phone call in, too."

Self-deprecating, funny and informative. My kind of analyst. The judge in the Amgen/Roche case is expected to hand down a ruling any day now.

UPDATE: Reuters and Dow Jones are reporting that the judge today has delayed making a decision. He wants to appoint an expert or "special master" to help him investigate the matter. The two sides have 15 days to submit nominees for that task and then the judge will give the person he picks another two months to get the information he's after.

Disclosure: Schoenebaum or someone in his household owns AMGN stock. Bear Stearns makes a market in the shares and may trade AMGN options, too.

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