Merrimack Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:MACK)

CAPS Rating: 3 out of 5

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Player Avatar zzlangerhans (99.69) Submitted: 3/19/2013 7:33:11 PM : Outperform Start Price: $6.00 MACK Score: -59.41

Merrimack has been rather quiescent of late after filling the gap back down from an inexplicable spike to 11 last September. A recent rally was squelched when the company announced a delay in projected topline data of the NAPOLI-1 trial to H2 2013 from mid 2013. I would imagine that means Q4 2013 at the earliest, otherwise the company would have waited longer before announcing the delay to make sure the data wouldn't be ready in Q3 after all.

NAPOLI-1 is evaluating the efficacy of MM-398 liposomal irinotecan in pancreatic cancer. The main issues I have with the prospects of success are prior failure of a liposomal irinotecan being developed by Neopharm, and the poor success rate of phase III therapies against pancreatic cancer in general. Fortunately for Merrimack, the 582M market cap places them outside the hopeless sub-300M Feuerstein-Ratain echelon but the track record of the 300M-1B echelon isn't that much better.

After MM-398, Merrimack has a substantial array of monoclonals in clinical trials for cancer which makes them reminiscent of successful outfits such as Seattle Genetics and Immunogen, and also less successful outifts such as Immunomedics. My knowledge of the company is hardly categorical, so any Merry Mackers out there can hold their vitriol about my less than enthusiastic endorsement until I feel comfortable providing a more confident evaluation.

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