Mad Money

Time to ring the register on this hot biotech play

NPS CEO: Shire has rare-disease experience

Anyone who follows Jim Cramer's stock picks knows that he loves the biotech sector. Especially NPS Pharmaceuticals, up 45 percent in the past month. Wowzer!

On Sunday, Ireland-based Shire PLC agreed to acquire NPS Pharma for an all cash deal of $5.2 billion, or $46 a share.

Cramer thinks this is a huge deal. "It confirms the strength of one of my absolute favorite themes, biotech companies that develop what are known as orphan drugs to treat ultra-rare diseases," he said.

Essentially, a deal this size shows that the big-dog pharma companies are willing to pay up for a little orphan company like NPS. A good sign.

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NPS has seen some success with its drug Gattex, which treats short-bowel syndrome. Short-bowel is a condition where the intestines are unable to absorb nutrients from food, thus resulting in feeding patients from a tube. Gattex has shown promising results, ultimately aiming to get patients off feeding tube dependence.

Cramer started recommending NPS back in October 2012, when the stock was trading at $8.24. It now trades at $45, and the "Mad Money" host said it's time to ring the register on this hot biotech play.

To learn more, Cramer sat down with NPS Pharmaceuticals CEO Dr. Francois Nader.

"What we do in the rare-disease business is select an indication where there is no other treatment, where there is a huge medical need and limited number of patients. Gattex is one of those drugs where it will bring value to the patients," Nader said.

The CEO explained that what makes NPS unique is the critical need to find patients individually. There are approximately 3,000 to 5,000 chronic patients of short-bowel syndrome in the U.S.

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"Finding them is just the first step. And then we have to walk them through a process of reimbursement and then train them on the drug. So really the rare-disease business is dealing with one patient at a time," he added.

From an investing perspective, Nader warned that it will be a tumultuous but prosperous ride.

"It will be a bumpy ride, and it's absolutely not a linear growth. Remember, it is one patient at a time; every patient counts. So some quarters you have many more patients and others you don't. What you need to look at is the trend, and not really at the point-per-point basis," he said.

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