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First Albany Downgrades Neopharm Rating

First Albany downgraded Neopharm (NEOL) to neutral.

Analyst David Webber says the LEP (liposomal paclitaxel) development timeline will likely be longer than expected, with a best case scenario being the initiation of a pivotal trial in mid-2003 -- seriously behind the competition. Neopharm claims that Pharmacia has not met its obligations to develop LEP and LED as defined by a licensing pact; Pharmacia will reportedly claim Neopharm did not appropriately disclose information about its products. The setback to LEP makes IL 13-PE38 (immuno- conjugate for brain cancer) the company's lead product; which although promising, is still in the early stages of development.

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