Bad News For Syringe Makers?

When Michael Goldberg took over as president and CEO of Clinical Technologies Associates last year, he started calling the Street's attention to the company. How? By stepping up joint ventures with giant drug companies such as Upjohn to develop applications for CTA's patented oral drug-delivery technology. The deals were structured to raise upfront money for CTA. But they also raised the company's credibility--and roused big investors.

The technology, expected to be in human trials by January, allows a variety of drugs and biotech products that are now deliverable only by injection to be taken orally. Peter Drake, an executive vice-president at Vector Securities International, thinks CTA "represents a unique opportunity." He notes that last year, the Food & Drug Administration approved nine biotech-derived drugs, representing worldwide sales of $2.5 billion. And each of those drugs, plus 14 new ones awaiting approval, is deliverable only by injection. Says Drake: "A vast opportunity exists to alter the way these drugs are marketed."

He thinks CTA's corporate partners will multiply. Reports are that CTA will soon do another joint venture with a drugmaker at least as big as Upjohn. And Upjohn may soon announce which drug the oral-delivery technology will be tested on. (Rumors point to insulin.) That's expected to further fire up demand for the stock, now at 14. Goldberg declined to comment on CTA's joint ventures or Upjohn's test.

If the technology is validated in human clinical trials next year, Drake expects CTA to post a modest profit by 1993. David Jordan, a managing partner at Gruntal, thinks CTA's growth potential could push the stock to twice its current price in six to 12 months.