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This Week’s Pharma Highlights

By Sarah Roden

It’s been a busy week in the pharmaceutical industry with new data emerging on trial drugs and M&A between drug companies. Here are some highlights from the latest ratings:

On March 18, analyst Joshua Schimmer of Piper Jaffray maintained an Overweight rating on Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR) but lowered his price target from $20 to $15. Nektar announced test results for NKTR-102, a drug that targets metastatic breast cancer. Unfortunately, the topline results did not show statistical significance.

Schimmer noted that although Nektar considers the NKTR-102 results a “near-miss,” he sees a potential “viable path forward.” He continued, “Pending regulatory clarity, we are stripping NKT-102 and associated costs from our model, but with royalties from Movantik and BAX-855 plus some additional partnered and wholly owned shots on goal, we maintain our OW rating.”

Joshua Schimmer has a 74% overall success rate recommending stocks with a +19.8% average return per recommendation.

The top analyst consensus for Nektar Therapeutics on TipRanks is Strong Buy.

Pharma Schimmer

On March 18, analyst Jim Birchenough of BMO Capital reiterated an Outperform rating on Regulus Therapeutics (NASDAQ:RGLS) with a $36 price target. New promising data was released on RG-101, a hepatitis C drug, demonstrating that the drug successfully lowers levels of the virus.

Birchenough noted the success of the RG-101 test and commented, “We continue to view a broad opportunity to shorten and simplify [hepatitis C virus] therapy, address patients with treatment failure and provide a novel option for difficult to treat patients with [the hepatitis C virus].” He believes the value of the treatment has “been under-estimated” and continues “to see significant value in RG-101.”

Jim Birchenough has an 80% overall success rate recommending stocks with a +57% average return per recommendation.

On average, the top analyst consensus for Regulus on TipRanks is Strong Buy.

Pharma Birchenough

On March 18, analyst Michael Yee of RBC Capital reiterated an Outperform rating on Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB) but did not provide a price target. Biogen will be releasing new data on its experimental Alzheimer’s drug, BIIB-037, on March 20.

Yee has high expectations for BIIB-037 and expects the drug to prompt “stabilization of cognition levels.” The study was performed over the course of one year and Yee expects to see a notable difference in cognition levels between study participants who received BIIB-037 and those who received the placebo. Yee notes that Biogen has strong fundamentals and a robust pipeline.

Michael Yee has a 73% overall success rate recommending stocks with a +16% average return per recommendation.

On average, the top analyst consensus for Biogen Idec on TipRanks is Strong Buy.

Pharma Yee

On March 18, analyst David Steinberg of Jefferies downgraded Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP) from a Buy to a Hold with a $173 price target. Salix recently agreed on a deal to be taken over by Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: VRX) for $173 per share, an increase from the initial offer of $158 per share.

Steinberg noted that Salix chose Valeant’s bid over Endo International (NASDAQ: ENDP), though Endo rescinded its offer after Valeant raised its bid. He commented, “We view the likelihood of a successful tender close on or near April 1 as very high. We thus downgrade SLXP from Buy to Hold.”

David Steinberg has a 75% overall success rate recommending stocks with a +24.4% average return per recommendation.

On average, the top analyst consensus for Salix on TipRanks is Hold.

Pharma Steinberg

To see more of the latest recommendations, visit TipRanks today.

Sarah Roden writes about stock market news. She can be reached at [email protected].

About the author:

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GuruFocus has detected 2 Warning Signs with Biogen Inc $BIIB.
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