Analyst Notes: Lilly Gets A Lift, Pfizer Goes Pfft

Jun. 05, 2008 1:48 AM ETPFE, LLY, NVS, BMY, ALKS, VVUS, NVO
Mike Huckman profile picture
Mike Huckman

Despite at least a couple of analysts coming out with relatively bullish post-ASCO research notes on Pfizer's (PFE) oncology drug pipeline, PFE shares have fallen to yet another new low intra-day and have crossed another threshold. But Eli Lilly (LLY) is the biggest dollar and percentage gainer on an otherwise weak pharma tape.

Yesterday morning Cowen and Company big pharma analyst Steve Scala upgraded Eli Lilly to Outperform (euphemism for Buy), Novartis (NVS) to Outperform and downgraded Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) to Neutral (euphemism for Hold). His call definitely seems to be moving LLY and BMY, but not NVS, which coincidentally held a deep-dive meeting yesterday for analysts and investors into its vaccine portfolio and pipeline.

Scala is basing his bullishness on Lilly primarily on the pending Food and Drug Administration decision on whether to approve the company's experimental bloodthinner Effient. I wonder if the FDA does approve the drug whether it'll let Lilly use that name because it might not like the connotation of Effient implying that it is efficient. Scala places 70/30 odds on approval of the pill.

He doesn't mention it in his upgrade note, but LLY could possibly move on major data due out over this coming weekend and/or early next week at the American Diabetes Association meeting in San Francisco. LLY, Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN) , and Alkermes (ALKS) will be presenting new test results on their developmental once-a-week injectable diabetes drug Byetta. Many analysts believe the product could become a multi-billion-dollar blockbuster.

After a brief recovery from my ASCO hangover here at CNBC HQ in New Jersey, I'll be heading to ADA this weekend and will be reporting live from there on Monday. Novo Nordisk (NVO) will also be out with data there on its developmental diabetes drug that analysts have high hopes for. It's a mouthful: liraglutide. I wish they'd give it a commercial name already.

And unlike most scientific conferences that frontload the meetings with the headline-grabbing stuff during the first day or two, ADA stretches things out a bit and backloads its meeting (perhaps to keep attendees there as long as possible?) with embargoes lifting on big data even on the last day. Some analysts say one to watch on Tuesday morning could be a diabetes/obesity drug in late-stage development at a small biotech, Vivus (VVUS).

This article was written by

Mike Huckman profile picture
Mike Huckman is CNBC’s Pharmaceutical Reporter covering the drug, biotechnology and medical device industries. Huckman is based at the network’s global headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Huckman joined CNBC in September 2000 after nine years at WXYZ-TV in Detroit where he was one of the station’s lead reporters. Prior to WXYZ-TV, he served as a general assignment reporter at KGUN-TV in Tucson, Ariz., KBCI-TV in Boise, Idaho, and as an anchor/producer for the Montana Television Network. Huckman has won numerous awards for his reporting, including three Michigan News Emmys, one for Business and Financial reporting, as well as a first place News Series Award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Huckman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Southern California.

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