Healthcare Business

How Intercept Pharma Shares Could See Blockbuster Drug and See Its Shares Double

Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ICPT) was last seen trading higher after the company’s financial reporting. While numbers are always important to see, a more subjective issue is a positive review from Wall Street.

Intercept reported strong Ocaliva net product revenue of $177.8 million in 2018, beating a Bloomberg estimate of $176.2 million. The reason for the beat appears to bet that the company expanded its sales force efforts inside the United States.

Wedbush Securities has an Outperform rating on Intercept already, but what stands out here is that the firm’s analyst Liana Moussatos has a $251 price target that implies well over 100% in implied upside. Unlike many other speculative companies within biotech and emerging Pharma, Intercept is already generating revenues and it is not usually the case that companies with actual sales happening are called on for upside of more than 100%.

As a reminder, there are no guarantees that any upside at all, let alone more than 100%, will be seen just because an analyst believes that to be the case.

The market is waiting for detailed Phase 3 REGENERATE study results at the European Association for the Study of the Liver: The International Liver Congress as the next catalyst for the stock. That is not until April 10 through April 14 in Vienna, Austria. According to the Wedbush note, Intercept already reported positive top-line results from 18-month analysis of the pivotal Phase 3 REGENERATE trial for obeticholic acid (OCA; 10 mg and 25 mg) in biopsy-proven NASH patients (n=931) with fibrosis in stages F2-F3.

For the primary endpoint, the high dose demonstrated a significant fibrosis improvement with no worsening of NASH after 72 weeks in patients with advanced NASH. Liana Moussatos is projecting a potential blockbuster drug with the $1 billion sales status here, and she said in the call:

Based on positive results from the Phase 2b FLINT trial and interim Phase 3 REGENERATE trial, Intercept plans to file for accelerated approval in the U.S. and Europe in H2:19. We project potential achievement of blockbuster revenue in 2022 for OCA for NASH after a potential U.S. launch in October 2020.

Other analyst calls were bullish on Intercept Pharma as well, but not with such dramatic upside. On March 1, 2019, Raymond James reiterated it as Strong Buy and raised the price target to $187 from $184 and B. Riley FBR reiterated it as Buy and lifted its target to $169 from $155. RBC Capital Markets also raised its rating to Outperform from Sector Perform on the same day, but with a more geared-down target price of $130. On February 28, Intercept’s target price was raised to $191 from $170 at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Intercept Pharmaceuticals shares closed on Tuesday up by 2.9% at $107.72, with a 52-week range of $58.03 to $133.74. Its prior consensus analyst target price had been $159.95 and it has roughly a $3.2 billion market cap.