Shares of two companies vying for the transdermal nicotinepatch market rose on Monday as a result of separate, positivecomments by analysts.

Alza Corp. stock (AMEX:AZA) rose $1, closing at $82.25. MerrillLynch analyst Stuart Weisbrod said Food and DrugAdministration approval last Friday of the Palo Alto, Calif.,company's Nicoderm nicotine patch, combined with theproduct's superiority over the competition, would give it abouta 45 percent share of the U.S. market, estimated at $400million to $500 million. Alza's marketing partner, MarionMerrell Dow, already has a foothold in the market with itsNicorette gum.

Weisbrod projected 1992 sales of Nicoderm of $50 million,rising to $140 million in 1993. He predicted that rivals Ciba-Geigy and Cygnus/Warner Lambert would each have a 25percent market share, with a 5 percent share going toElan/Lederle.

Stock of Cygnus Therapeutic Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CYGN)gained $2.75, closing at $22.75, after Smith Barney analystDenise Gilbert said that the extremely rapid FDA review of theAlza patch, which was filed in January, boded well for Cygnus.

Although Gilbert had hoped that the two products would beapproved simultaneously, she said the Cygnus patch wouldmost likely win approval within three to six months. Shepredicted that the Alza and Cygnus patches would split 80percent of the market.

Gilbert also raised her sales estimates for the estrogen patchbeing developed by Redwood City, Calif.-based Cygnus andWarner Lambert to treat menopausal symptoms and post-menopausal osteoporosis to $200 million to $300 million from$50 million to $75 million.

Gilbert raised her 1992 earnings estimate to a loss of 28 centsper share from a loss of 45 cents, and set a 12-month stocktarget price of $35, up from $30.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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