AMRN reports great results; potential M&A target for 2011 Print E-mail
By Patrick Crutcher   
Monday, 29 November 2010 09:47

icon_keyalertAmarin announced very positive results from their Phase 3 MARINE trial with AMR-101. The drug was effective in reducing triglycerides and was LDL-C neutral. We see them as an attractive takeover target going into 2011.

These significant results should make them an attractive takeover target. On the conference call, Amarin even noted that they have already had calls this morning from companies interested in partnering with them on AMR-101. AMR-101 has significant potential to take a lot of marketshare from Lovaza, which is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline(NASDAQ: GSK) and loses patent protection in 2012. AMR101 has the potential to be the best-in-class product and the MARINE study results may support additional patentable claims that could further protect this product until 2030.

Most importantly, AMR-101 was able to demonstrate a significant reduction in triglyceride levels.The patient group treated with 4 grams of AMR101 showed a significant median TG decrease of 33 % (P 750 mg/dL(39% of all patients), the effect of AMR101 in reducing TG levels was even more prominent. In this group, the median decrease in TG levels from placebo was 45% for 4 grams and 33% for 2 grams, both statistically significant (P= 0.0001 for 4 grams and P= 0.0016 for 2 grams, respectively). Additionally, those on background statin therapy had much greater median reductions in TG, which were also statistically significant, than those not on statin therapy. They expect to release more details about the study at an upcoming scientific meeting.

As we stressed earlier, AMR-101 continues to outshine Lovaza by demonstrating a better cholesterol profile. AMR-101 did not increase levels of low-density lipoprotein(LDL-C), or "bad cholesterol", in this study. This is a significant side effect for those taking Lovaza, as it can require additional treatment with statins. This was the first triglyceride-lowering therapy studied to demonstrate a lack of elevation in LDL-C. There was also a statistically significant decrease in median non-HDL-C (total cholesterol less "good cholesterol") compared to placebo with both of the AMR101 treated groups (-18% for the 4 gram group [p < 0.001] and -8% for the 2 gram group [p < 0.05]). Additionally, Amarin saw significant reductions in several important lipid markers, including Apo B, Lp-PLA2 (Lipoprotein-phospholipase A2), VLDL-C and total cholesterol. Lovaza can raise LDL-C by 45%, whereas AMR-101 does not. AMR-101 will offer primary-care physicians a much better option for lowering triglycerides without raising bad cholesterol.

We believe that Amarin should be able to land a significant deal for the AMR-101 program based on the MARINE study results. The significant reduction in triglyceride levels and lack of elevated LDL-C puts AMR-101 at a significant advantage over Lovaza. Amarin also announced that it intends to submit a New Drug Application (NDA) seeking approval to market and sell AMR101 in 2011. Amarin now has all the makings of an attractive acquisition candidate with positive results under their belt. They will be an attractive acquisition for a large pharma going into 2011 and beyond.

Disclosure: Long AMRN.

Initial Coverage(October 25th) -

Recent Coverage(November 16th) -

Phase 3 MARINE results -

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