Perking Things Up At Orphan Medical

Orphan Medical (ORPH), which has been working on remedies for narcolepsy, may have a new drug that's--well, a sleeper. The Food & Drug Administration has granted "priority review status" to Xyrem, which treats extreme daytime sleepiness related to narcolepsy. Such status commits the FDA to completing the review in six months. Orphan filed for approval on Oct. 2. "Assuming timely FDA approval, Xyrem could be on the market by mid-2001," says Ernest Andberg, an analyst at investment firm R.J. Steichen in Minneapolis, who rates Orphan a strong buy. He figures the company will be in the black by 2002, earning 16 cents a share on estimated sales of $30 million. After 2002, Andberg says, Orphan's potential sales are limited only by how fast Xyrem can penetrate the narcolepsy market.

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