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Two Ways: Roche Advances in Fight Against Diabetes


Strengthen your portfolio in good times and bad.

Zurich-based drug maker Roche Holding said today it will perform late-stage testing on a potential blockbuster diabetes drug. According to The Wall Street Journal, the drug is called aleglitazar which belongs to a class of medicines called PPAR agonists. So far these drugs have been a big disappointment for many companies. Recently GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) Avandia had a large drop in sales due to a possible increase in heart problems. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and AstraZeneca (AZN) also terminated the development of similar drugs due related safety concerns.

But Roche is hoping to avoid such an issue by developing the drug to treat diabetic patients who already have heart issues. The company is hoping to target a market of about 500,000 diabetics who suffered a heart attack out of around 3 million people who have heart attacks each year in the US and the three largest countries in Europe. If the drug reaches approval, it could bring in revenues of about $1 billion a year or more.

From the Bull Pen: Professor Smita Sadana highlighted the biotech ETF (BBH) today on the Buzz and Banter. It's got massive resistance at $92 and one can set a sell stop below $90.

From the Bear Cave: If playing from the short side is your preference, consider Celgene (CELG). In the near term there's resistance near $46 and $48. Entry can be near those levels. Remember to set a tight buy stop.

Have a great night!
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