DEPO – RATS!

If you took a flier with the basket of three speculative stocks suggested here recently . . . DEPO (then at $3.02), DYAX (then at $3.17), INCY (then at $5.62) . . . and if you took some or all your profit in INCY as suggested here (at $10.81) and replaced it with DCTH (at $5.37 or a few days later at $4.61) . . . then you may have noticed that DEPO got clobbered yesterday. It dropped 20% to $2.47. (DYAX and DCTH remain largely unchanged at $3.48 and $5.31.)

Guru writes:

DEPO dropped because XNPT was rejected by the FDA for its gabapentin-based restless-leg-syndrome drug. Gabapentin produces pancreas tumors in rats. Gabapentin is the basis of the drug DEPO hopes FDA will approve. It has been on the market for 15 years and has produced no evidence of increased pancreas tumors in humans, but the FDA said the risk/reward for an approval in restless leg was not worth it.

Gabapentin has previously been approved for post-herpes pain – DEPO’s intended use. The FDA deemed that post-herpes pain was sufficiently important to allow the risk of pancreas tumors in rats. Thus DEPO should be able to get approval for the same thing. (DEPO’s delivery allows better efficacy and fewer side effects and more convenient dosing than the already-approved generics.) However, it appears that Jason Napodano didn’t know this when he made a comment to a reporter that if XNPT went down, DEPO should go down.

The DEPO Phase III data are now in the hands of Solvay, which is being bought by Abbott. Abbott will likely file for approval as soon as they complete the Solvay merger. The fundamentals say all should go through as planned. What I don’t know is whether the stock market will wait until ABT/DEPO version of gabapentin actually gets approval in order to give them credit. If the market does wait for this, then DEPO could be dead in the water for most of this year.

☞ So far, not so great. But I’m holding mine.

BRUSHING UP ON YOUR LANGUAGE SKILLS

If you don’t already have Google’s toolbar on your browser, you can get it with a few clicks here. One of its many helpful features is a ‘translate’ option I recently turned on. Now, occasionally, I’ll click ‘translate,’ and the entire page I’m reading – even this one – appears, a moment later, in Russian. Being able to go back and forth this way with material whose meaning you already know and have an interest in could be an amusing way to awaken high school language skills. (Or just a way to learn how to say ‘restless leg syndrome’ in French, Slovak, or Simplified Chinese.)

MARRIAGE IN BARELY A MINUTE

She was denied a license to marry her life partner but offered one to marry a passer-by of the opposite sex. (If, after watching the clip, you think the government should allow same-sex couples civil marriage licenses – quite apart from whatever their church, mosque, or temple might choose to bless – sign here.)

ASK, TELL – AND GET TO WORK

Brent: ‘You may not appreciate this editorial quite as much if you are not familiar with the extent that this North Carolina newspaper, the Hickory Daily Record, in the past has promoted anti-gay sentiment. But here it is anyway.’

It’s Time to End ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’
By Lee Barnes

When I was in the Air Force, one of the guys in my barracks was g­ay.

I knew Richard was gay b­ecause he liked to wear a little bit of eye­liner when he wasn’t on d­uty.

I also knew he was gay b­ecause every time he got a few beers in him at the Airman’s Club, h­e’d flirt with m­e.

I handled this great threatening menace to my manhood by telling him to go away. Which he always did. That was quite some time ago — 1970. Those were different t­imes for gay men and women, but not so much as you might i­magine.

Richard and I were medics, a­s­signed to a hospital in Mississip­pi. With the Vietnam War going on, business in military h­ospitals was, unfortunately, very good.

Richard was a great medic, f­ar better than I was. And people in military hospitals always like working with someone who is good at what he does. It’s especial­ly the case when you’re sh­ort­handed, which we always were.

With Richard’s many m­anner­isms, his sexual preference was no secret to anyone, including the of­ficers. It wasn’t a matter of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” It was more a ­mat­ter of “We have work to do.”

We accepted Richard b­ecause there wasn’t time to do anything else. That’s the way it seems to work best for the m­ilitary.

Consider, for e­x­ample, the end of segregated t­roops in the armed forces during the Korean W­ar.

You can look it up. The need f­or troops in Korea exceeded the means to house the black soldiers separately from the white sol­diers.

Thus we got integrated armed forces, out of n­ecessity.

So, back to gays in the m­ilitary.

We’re at a time in our problems in Iraq and Afghanistan where we can no longer exclude qualified volunteers just because t­hey’re openly g­ay.

President Clinton’s “Don’t a­sk, don’t tell” policy was, and is, politi­cal cowardice. It hasn’t worked — thousands of gay soldiers have been dismissed from the military s­ince the policy’s adoption in 1993.

Retired Gen. John Shalikashvili was chairman of the Joint C­hiefs of Staff when Clinton came up with the policy. He opposed it, be­cause he opposed gays in the mili­tary, period.

Now, Shalikashvili says he w­as wrong. He says he has met w­ith gay servicemen and drawn some new c­onclusions.

“These conversations showed me just how much the military has changed, and that gays and lesbians can be accepted by t­heir peers,” he wrote.

Well, maybe the military h­as changed, but the people in i­t haven’t. We were capable of accepting gays within our r­anks decades a­go.

That’s exactly the situation t­oday, as today’s soldiers o­verwhelmingly say it’s a non-issue to them.

If I need the help of the medic or marksman working next to m­e, his sexual orientation won’t be high on my list of p­riorities.

Defense Secretary Robert G­ates announced Tuesday that he will begin looking for ways to elimi­nate the policy and begin inte­grating gay and straight s­oldiers.

It’s about t­ime.

Today’s all-volunteer military in this time of war needs all the good people it can get — including t­hose good people who happen to be g­ay.

LEE BARNES is editor of the Hickory D­aily Record.

 

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