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September 26th, 2007
4 Platform Drugmakers to Watch
Abraxis BioScience (Nasdaq: ABBI) is developing drugs based on its nab (nanoparticle-albumin bound) technology. Essentially, the company takes chemotherapy drugs and surrounds them with albumin protein. Since albumin is used by tumor cells as a way to bring in nutrients, the tumor cells take up the albumin-bound drug more readily than they would a similar drug without albumin. The shell also increases the solubility of the drug, making it easier to deliver it to wherever it's needed in the body.
Abraxane, the company's one marketed drug based on the nab technology, has been competing well against the other taxanes on the market -- Bristol-Myers Squibb's (NYSE: BMY) Taxol and Sanofi-Aventis' (NYSE: SNY) Taxotere -- since it was approved to treat metastatic breast cancer in 2005. Abraxis is running additional clinical trials to get its label expanded to include other types of tumors.
The company is also developing four other chemotherapy drugs based on the nab technology. Two clinical trials for nab-docetaxel have already begun, and clinical studies for nab-rapamycin are expected to begin later this year. The other two molecules are still in pre-clinical trials but could be in the clinic as early as 2008.
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