Is the Sage Therapeutics Implosion Overblown?

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Sage Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SAGE) shareholders took a bath on Thursday after results from its late-stage major depressive disorder (MDD) trial came public. Despite shares getting more than halved in the session, the thought among analysts seems to be that the company is not dying and the sell-off may have been too great.

Sage reported topline results from the pivotal Phase 3 Mountain Study evaluating the effect of SAGE-217 on depressive symptoms in adults with MDD. Unfortunately, the Mountain study did not meet its primary endpoint of a statistically significant reduction from baseline compared to placebo in the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression total score at day 15.

The SAGE-217 development program includes five other pivotal studies, two of which have reported positive data, one in major depressive disorder and one in postpartum depression, and three of which are ongoing.

Wedbush reiterated an Outperform rating with a $90 price target. The boutique investment firm detailed in its report:

While Phase 2 data with SAGE-217 in MDD looked encouraging, SAGE reported that the pivotal Mountain study failed to meet its primary efficacy endpoint at day 15. What does this mean for SAGE-217? Management remains confident that a path forward can be found with patient compliance appearing to impact Mountain results, two previously successful studies in MDD and PPD, and additional studies ongoing. We agree and continue to model SAGE-217 in MDD, PPD indications; however, we do push out our earliest potential commercial launch timing to FY23 as we await additional clarity on the regulatory path forward. Bottom line, we think today’s market reaction is overdone.

Here’s what a few other analysts had to say in the wake of the report:

  • Morgan Stanley has an Overweight rating but cut its target to $125 from $217.
  • H.C. Wainwright has a Neutral rating but cut its price target to $87 from $160.
  • BMO has an Outperform rating but cut its price target from $199 to $92.
  • Canaccord Genuity cut its price target from $218 to $121.
  • Guggenheim has a Buy rating and cut its target to $110 from $200.
  • Jefferies cut the target price to $95 from $195.
  • Leerink upgraded it to a Market Perform from Underperform but cut its target to $63 from $90.


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