Cypress Biosciences & Forest Labs Get a Newer Boost, An Understatement (CYPB, FRX)

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Cypress Biosciences (CYPB-NASDAQ) is literally a ‘double" in pre-market trading.  Forest Labs (FRX-NYSE) and the company released top-line Phase III results that show statistically significant therapeutic effects of milnacipran as a treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome. 

Milnacipran is the first of a new class of agents known as norepinephrine serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or NSRIs, which exerts its effect by preferentially inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine over serotonin, two neurotransmitters known to play an essential role in regulating pain and mood. It has been approved for the treatment of depression in over 32 countries and has been used safely by more than 5 million patients during more than seven years of commercial availability outside the U.S. Milnacipran is being developed for fibromyalgia in the United States market jointly by Forest and its licensor, Cypress Biosciences, Inc.

FMS is chronic and debilitating with widespread pain and stiffness throughout the body, accompanied by severe fatigue, insomnia and mood symptoms.  FMS is estimated to affect over six million people in the United States alone.  Despite the high prevalence and severity of this syndrome, there are no treatments specifically approved for FMS in the United States or elsewhere and the addressable patient population is not yet well established.

Since this is a new indication, this one could go far beyond what Cypress and Forest were originally targeting.  The population base and widespread number of potential patients make this even morelucrative if the results turn out to be as they initially look.

Cypress-CYPB is trading up 110% at $17.75 to highs not seen since 2001 (market cap may be close to $600M now after the jump) and Forest-FRX is even trading up 9% at $56.70 in pre-market trading (FRX has a $16.5 Billion market cap before the pop).

Jon C. Ogg
May 23, 2007

Jon Ogg can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.