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Prostate Cancer, Provenge, and a Mini Reader Riot

posted Nov 10, 2011, 12:53 PM by Bryce Istvan
When I published my article about the prostate cancer drug pipeline I was not expecting the intense backlash from several readers about my opinion on Provenge, the prostate cancer drug from Dendreon (DNDN). To be fair, I admit it was a mistake to call the 4.1 month life extension an "average." The 4.1 number was a median, and does not accuratly reflect the success that Provenge has for some patients. My rationale for using this number was to be able to compare efficacy to the other drugs in the pipeline since all clinical trial results use a median life expectancy.
Additionally, some readers have complained that pointing out the $93,000 cost of treatment was unfair, since that is a one time cost. I did include the cost of Zytiga ($5000/month) in the article, but realize that there is a difference in "sticker shock." In my opinion, and part of what I tried to point out in my article, is that Dendreon has not done a good job managing that sticker shock among doctors.
In order to fairly present both sides of the argument, below are some links to Seeking Alpha articles and Instablogs from authors I respect that have a different view.
Unfortunately, I believe that some people may have distorted the focus of my article. My intention was not to tear down Dendron, but instead to highlight which drugs and companies could be the next big winners.
Biotechnology as an industry and as an investor should be about looking forward for the next best thing. Companies and investors should strive to continue to look for drugs that are more effective, cheaper, have fewer side effects etc. It is those scientific advancements that compound on each other, keep the industry vibrant, make investors money, and ultimately improve lives.