If Resverlogix (TSX:RVX) shareholders are nervous they’re not showing it. It’s now a little more than a week before the the Annual Heart Association meeting in Chicago, and shares of RVX are on the march again, gaining more than a dollar, from $4.40 on October 20th, to $5.65 on November 3rd.
Speculators have circled November 17th, 2010 on the calendar. That’s the day Resverlogix presents at the AHA conference, and CEO Donald McCaffrey has hinted the company may present data from the company’s ASSURE trial. In that study, which was completed earlier this year, just under three hundred patients with coronary artery disease took Resverlogix’s treatment, RVX-208, designed to promote the production of HDL, or good cholesterol. RVX-208 is oral small molecule drug that works by increasing serum levels of ApoA-l, a key cardioprotective protein that makes up 70 percent of HDL cholesterol.
Shares of Resverlogix went on a run in March of this year after an article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek suggested that the company “may accomplish what Pfizer Inc., the world’s biggest drugmaker, couldn’t: Creating a new medicine that fights heart disease by raising so-called good cholesterol.”
Pfizer’s Lipitor is the world’s biggest selling medicine, but use of generics in certain parts of the world have started to chip away at its share. This is nothing compared to what the biotech giant will face when they lose U.S. marketing exclusivity a year from now. To this end, Pfizer has invested in treatments designed to raise HDL, or good cholesterol, instead of lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, as Lipitor does. After a purported $2 billion expenditure, the company appears to have little to show for it.
While some investors may surmise that the massive market for cholesterol treatment may now have a new contender from Calgary, no one knows more than Donald McCaffrey that the process for approval is long and arduous, and Resverlogix is still not quite there. In an interview with Cantech Letter this past summer, McCaffrey said that the treatment still needs to complete Phase 3 trials as well as a new drug application before this product can be reviewed and approved by the federal health authorities and only then will it reach the marketplace. “As with all drug candidates that are in clinical trials”, he noted “we are currently years away from an approved drug.” Current investors, who see that the difference between the market caps of Pfizer and Resverlogix is about $140 billion, think the wait may be worth it.