SG Cowen Lowers Trimeris to 'Market Perform'

Analyst Yaron Werber cited a survey that indicates a limited demand for the company's AIDS drug

SG Cowen downgraded Trimeris (TRMS ) to market perform from outperform.

Analyst Yaron Werber cited a survey that indicates a limited demand for Fuzeon, Trimeris' AIDS drug, based on results of phone interviews with 34 HIV specialists.

Werber says the results are primarily limited by patients' resistance of injections and a highly conservative patient selection by physicians. The survey points to continued modest demand as physicians now estimate that just 10% of treated HIV patients are candidates for Fuzeon, vs. 27% in the prior survey.

Werber suggests out-year demand will no longer exceed supply. He cut the 2004-2007 Fuzeon worldwide sales estimates from $289 million to $257 million; $524 million to $355 million; $675 million to $443 million; and $766 million to $509 million.

Fuzeon, which was co-developed by Roche and Trimeris, was granted accelerated approval on the basis of 24-week data by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March, and also is approved in the European Union and Switzerland.

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