US Biotech/Pharma Sector Update: April 10

Apr. 10, 2017 10:05 PM ETMESO, TXMD2 Comments
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Money manager, Biotech, Contrarian

Seeking Alpha Analyst Since 2012

Money Manager. Registered Investment Advisor. 

M.B.B.S., M.D., MBA Finance (NYU-Stern). 

Founder of Vasuda Healthcare Analytics, a catalyst-driven biotechnology/pharmaceuticals-focused service. Ranked 5-star on Tipranks. SumZero contributor.

Axovant (AXON) stock was up more than 22% on high volume after announcing that David Hung, the former CEO of Medivation will join as its new CEO. Following the appointment, the company also announced a $100 million equity offering today. Former CEO, Vivek Ramaswamy will remain on the Baord of Directors.

Akorn (AKRX) stock was up more than 9% on the news of takeover interest from Fresenius (first released on Friday evening). Jefferies reiterated Buy on Akorn stock today with PT=$24 while RBC Capital reiterated neutral rating.

Mesoblast (MESO) was up about 7% on high volume after announcing successful interim results of a phase 3 trial of MPC-150-IM, an allogeneic mesenchymal precursor cell candidate in moderate to severe chronic heart failure (analysis of first 270 out of planned 600 patients). Following the news, Maxim group reiterated Buy rating on the stock with PT=$14 while Ladenburg reiterated Buy with increased PT=$13.

Geron (GERN) stock was up about 20% on high volume after announcing interim data review of imetelstat in ongoing clinical trials in low risk myelodysplastic syndromes (IMerge) and myelofibrosis (IMbark). Data from both trials suggested clinical benefit and continued development in both indications. Piper Jeffrey reiterated Buy rating on the stock with PT=$5 while Stifel reiterated Hold rating with PT=$2.50.

Oncomed (OMED) stock was down about 37% after a phase 2 trial of demcizumab (anti-DLL4)+abraxane and gemcitabine missed the end-points of improving progression-free survival and overall survival in treatment-naive metastatic pancreatic cancer. Today, Bayer Pharma also announced that it will not exercise its option to license Wnt inhibitors vantictumab and ipafricept. Analysts from Wells Fargo defended the stock and reiterated Buy rating (no PT provided).

TherapeuticsMD (TXMD) stock was down about 20% on the news that FDA has delayed the PDUFA for TX-004HR (for the treatment of dyspareunia) due to some deficiencies in labeling and postmarketing requirements. The PDUFA date was on May 7, 2017. Several sell-side analysts defended the stock and reiterated Buy rating including Cowen (PT=$13), Cantor Fitzgerald (PT=$34) and Stifel (PT=$28).

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals (BLCM) was up more than 10% on high volume after a positive Seeking Alpha article from Pluvia Securities Research.

Five Prime Therapeutics (FPRX) has completed enrollment in a phase 2 trial of cabiralizumab for the treatment of pigmented villonodular synovitis (diffuse tenosynovial giant cell tumor). Following the news, Cowen reiterated Buy rating on the stock (no PT provided).

Cytori Therapeutics (CYTX) was down more than 14% afterhours on announcement of a secondary equity offering.

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More analyst ratings from today:

Eli Lilly (LLY): Jefferies, reiterated Buy with PT=$97.

Shire (SHPG): Stifel, reiterated Buy with PT=$250 (phase 3 data of SHP643 in prevention of hereditary angioedema expected soon).

Alder Pharmaceuticals (ALDR): Aegis Capital, reiterated Buy with PT=$29 (phase 3 results in frequent episodic migraine expected soon).

Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (AUPH): Cantor Fitzgerald, initiated coverage with Buy rating and PT=$14.

Axovant : Piper Jeffrey, reiterated Buy with PT=$32.

Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR): Piper Jeffrey, reiterated Buy with PT=$29.

Depomed (DEPO): Janney Montgomery, reiterated Buy with PT=$26.

Syros Pharmaceuticals (SYRS): Oppenheimer, reiterated Buy with PT=$28 (IND for SY-1365 for the treatment of solid tumors was accepted today).

Gemphire (GEMP): Piper Jeffrey, initiated coverage with Buy rating and PT=$30.

Heron Therapeutics (HRTX): Jefferies, reiterated Buy with PT=$29.

Alkermes (ALKS): Jefferies, reiterated Buy with PT=$70.

Supernus Pharmaceuticals (SUPN): reiterated Buy with PT=$35.

Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT): Oppenheimer, reiterated Buy with PT=$200.

Cidara Therapeutics (CDTX): Needham, reiterated Buy with PT=$10 (phase 2 data of IV CD-101 in invasive candidemia in Q4, 2017).

Blueprint Medicines (BPMC): Jefferies, reiterated Buy with PT=$42.

Abeona Therapeutics (ABEO): Maxim Group, reiterated Buy with PT=$14 (data presentation on San Flippo's syndrome tomorrow).

Celsion (CLSN): Rodman and Renshaw, initiated coverage with Buy and PT=$1.50.

Merck (MRK): Cowen, reiterated neutral rating with PT=$68 (after CRL for Januvia).

Astra Zeneca (AZN): Jefferies, Downgraded to Hold (no PT given).

Insider transactions:

Insider selling noted in GBT, BMY, UTHR, VRAY.

Up on unusual volume:

Axovant Sciences, Akorn, Innoviva (INVA), Geron, Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (ZYNE), Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Mesoblast, Gemphire, Akari Therapeutics (AKTX)


This article represents my own opinion and is not a substitute for professional investment advice. It does not represent solicitation to buy or sell any security. Investors should do their own research and consult their financial adviser before making any investment.

Disclosure: I am/we are long FPRX, BLCM, AUPH, ICPT, CDTX, BMY.

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