Genmab Reaches 2009 High on Challenge to Roche: Copenhagen Mover

Genmab A/S, the Danish developer of cancer drugs, rose to the highest price in more than four years in Copenhagen trading on bets its leukemia treatment will be able to match a competing product from Roche Holding AG.

Genmab rose as much as 2.4 percent to 223.20 kroner, the highest since June 2009. The stock rose to 219.10 kroner at 11:15 a.m. in the Danish capital, with trading volume at 76 percent of the three-month daily average.

Genmab, based in Copenhagen, said Sept. 13 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted breakthrough status for its leukemia treatment Arzerra, allowing the experimental drug to move faster to the market. Thomas Bowers, an analyst at Danske Markets, said today the status bodes well for the product’s ability to compete with Basel, Switzerland-based Roche’s GA101 treatment.

“The perception of Arzerra is now shifting,” Bowers, who’s based in Copenhagen, said by phone. “The view of Arzerra is changing from a product that the market didn’t rate as highly as GA101, to a product rated on the same level or perhaps even higher.”

Genmab is developing Arzerra with London-based GlaxoSmithKline Plc. Genmab shares have gained 19 percent since the Arzerra announcement.

Breakthrough status, which the FDA assigns to medicines that may be superior to existing drugs for life-threatening medical conditions, will bring Arzerra to the market only “a few months” earlier than previously expected, Bowers said.

“But it’s a big thumbs up from the FDA and sparks optimism about the competitiveness of the product once it hits the market,” said the analyst, who has a buy recommendation on Genmab shares.

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