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Curing Spectrum's Headaches?

Tiny Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI), which has yet to make a dime, looks set to take on Big Pharma. So says Reni Benjamin of Rodman & Renshaw, which has done banking for Spectrum. He rates the stock, now at 6.20, "outperform/speculative risk," with a 12-month target of 12. Spectrum may get Food & Drug Administration approval, he says, for the first generic version of Imitrex, a migraine drug marketed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), whose patent expires in mid-2007. On Jan. 10, the FDA accepted Spectrum's application to clear the drug.

"Since it is the first to file for an 'abbreviated new drug application' for the generic, Spectrum could enjoy, once O.K.'d, a six-month period of exclusive marketing of the drug," notes Benjamin. Imitrex had 2004 sales of $200 million. Spectrum CEO Rajesh Shrotriya says Spectrum could initially capture 20% of the market. Glaxo, he adds, could either go the difficult route of seeking a patent extension -- or let Spectrum market Imitrex and the generic.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.

By Gene G. Marcial

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