Centocor Inc. shares gained 75 cents Monday to $32.50 afterFirst Boston analyst Jeffrey Swarz repeated a "strong buy" onthe company (NASDAQ:CNTO), which is awaiting FDA approvalof its Centoxin monoclonal antibody to treat gram-negativesepsis.
Swarz told BioWorld that hospitals are expanding use ofCentoxin in in-house clinical trials to include transplantpatients and for use as a preventative.
He also cited a negative review of Phase III data of XomaCorp.'s competing E5 product in the March issue of ClinicalPharmacy. "The data shows it doesn't work in gram-negativesepsis patients or gram-negative sepsis patients with majororgan failures," said Swarz. "The only statistical significance isin patients with acute renal failure."
Swarz concluded, "We don't believe the FDA will approve E5,and the question investors need to ask is why physicians wouldspend money on a drug that doesn't work, even if it's lessexpensive?"
Xoma shares (NASDAQ:XOMA) rose 25 cents to $22.88. -- KarenBernstein
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