Pfizer Headed for New High After FDA Nod for Joint Disease Treatment

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Shares of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) rose about 1.3% in afterhours trading Thursday after the company announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved Xeljanz (tofacitinib) for the treatment of adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis.

Specifically, Xeljanz 5 mg twice daily and Xeljanz XR extended release 11 mg once daily were approved for the treatment of those patients who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to methotrexate or other disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic, autoimmune, inflammatory disease that may include manifestations in peripheral joints, tendons, ligaments or skin. It may include a variety of symptoms, such as joint pain and stiffness, swollen toes or fingers and reduced range of motion.

Xeljanz already was the first and only Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor approved by the FDA for moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. Both pivotal psoriatic arthritis studies met their primary efficacy endpoints.

Pfizer shares were up 1.2% to $36.93 in premarket trading Friday, a new 52-week high if it holds after the opening bell. The stock has a 52-week trading range of $30.90 to $36.89, as well as a consensus analyst price target of $38.24.

Merrill Lynch recently reinstated coverage on 10 pharmaceutical companies and said of Pfizer:

We are encouraged by undemanding valuation, EPS growth, leadership in growth categories and sustainable dividend. In the near-term we expect investor focus to be potential post tax reform mergers and acquisitions and strategic review of consumer business.

BMO Capital Markets and Deutsche Bank each recently set Buy ratings on Pfizer, with $39 and $38 price targets, respectively.

Other analyst views of Pfizer:

  • Jefferies has a Neutral rating on the shares and a $39 price target.
  • JPMorgan has a Buy rating, also with a $39 target price.
  • Goldman Sachs has a Neutral rating, along with a $36 price target.
  • Barclays has a Buy rating and a $38 price target.