If there is any industry that can blow hot and then very cold on Wall Street, it’s biotechnology, and with good reason. Like big pharmaceuticals, politicians love to target biotechs every time the elections roll around, as they are good populous punching bags for drug pricing. The good news for investors this quarter is that the industry should enjoy solid pricing, favorable currency tailwinds as the dollar stays weak, and very reasonable Wall Street expectations.
In a new SunTrust Robinson Humphrey research report, the biotechnology team has a list of six top companies it feels are likely to report revenues that come in above current expectations. We picked four that look like solid buys for aggressive accounts looking to add shares in front of the first-quarter print. All are rated Buy at SunTrust.
Rumors have flown for some time that this may be a potential acquisition target. Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ALXN) develops and commercializes life-transforming therapeutic products.
It offers Soliris (eculizumab), a monoclonal antibody for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a genetic blood disorder, and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, a genetic disease. It also provides Strensiq (asfotase alfa), a targeted enzyme replacement therapy for patients with hypophosphatasia, and Kanuma (sebelipase alfa) for the treatment of patients with lysosomal acid lipase deficiency.
Recently, the company announced successful results from a Phase 3 clinical trial assessing ALXN1210 in patients with PNH. The data showed ALXN1210 to be noninferior to Soliris (eculizumab) by virtue of achieving the co-primary endpoints of transfusion avoidance and normalization of lactate dehydrogenase levels, a direct marker of complement-mediated hemolysis in PNH.
The SunTrust team said this in the report:
Expect Soliris sales to come in a bit ahead of consensus on increasing uptake in gMG, Strensiq to likely come in slightly ahead of consensus, while Kanuma’s struggle to continue. Overall, total revenue to beat consensus, while non-GAAP earnings per share should be readily achievable.
The SunTrust price target for the shares is $172. That compares with the Wall Street consensus price objective that is posted at $158.60 and the most recently closing share price of $113.28.
This is one of Wall Street’s favorites and it posted solid earnings last year. BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN) develops and commercializes innovative biopharmaceuticals for serious diseases and medical conditions. Its product portfolio comprises five approved products and multiple clinical and preclinical product candidates.
Over the past decade, BioMarin has become one of the top orphan drug companies, and it looks poised to stay there. Roche recently has been mentioned as a company that could be looking at BioMarin. Roche is heavily focused on oncology drugs and invests heavily in early-stage molecules.
The SunTrust team remains very positive on the shares and noted this in the research:
Price increases in march should help 2018 revenue reach the high end of 2018 guidance. We expect the approval of pegvaliase in the U.S. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act date is May 28.
SunTrust has a $130 price objective for the stock. The posted consensus target price was last seen at $114.30. The stock closed trading on Tuesday at $84.45 a share.
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