Amarin: Improving HCP Access Should Drive More Vascepa Sales, Says Analyst

Keeping it simple, biotech Amarin (AMRN) has one product. This means the company can focus solely on the progress of its high triglycerides treatment, Vascepa.

However, the drawbacks of having only one item for sale are obvious; Being wholly dependent on its success is a risky business, especially when confronted with a force such as COVID-19. The pandemic put a serious dent in Amarin’s plans for Vascepa in Q2. Nevertheless, the biotech coped well with the disruption.

In the second quarter, Amarin reported revenue of $135 million, up by 34% year-over-year. However, the figure came in $14.16 million shy of the estimate. Vascepa sales reached $133.7 million, indicating a year-over-year increase of 33%. Amarin even managed to turn a profit with EPS of $0.01, beating the consensus estimate by $0.09.

The results are impressive considering the coronavirus headwinds. A 70% drop in patient visits to HCPs (health care personnel) during April was bound to have an effect on sales. Although access has improved since then, HCP visits in July remain roughly 35% below pre-COVID levels.

Following the FDA’s decision to expand Vascepa’s label last December, Amarin was gearing up for a nationwide sales push. The pandemic put a stop to the initiative. However, in June, Amarin picked up the campaign again. Access remains limited in metropolitan areas such as LA and New York, but Northland Securities analyst Carl Byrnes is buoyed by Vascepa’s trajectory.

Byrnes said, “VASCEPA TRx remain strong and has increased. Normalized prescriptions for VASCEPA increased by 44% and 47% in 2Q20 according to IQVIA and Symphony Health, respectively, totaling 2.15 million and 1.97 million in the 1H20 period. Amarin has also initiated DTC campaigns, including TV ads, focusing on the persistent CV risk reduction and the benefit of VASCEPA in reducing heart attack and stroke by 25% when added to a statin regimen. Our 2020 sales estimate of $610 million remains intact, which we believe will prove conservative.”

Accordingly, Byrnes rates Amarin an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with a $15 price target. What does it mean for investors? Upside potential of a whopping 119%. (To watch Byrnes’ track record, click here)

As for the rest of the Street, opinions on Amarin are mixed, with the bulls in the lead. Based on 4 Buys and Holds each, the biotech has a Moderate Buy consensus rating. Over the next year, the analysts are forecasting hefty upside of 102%, considering the average price target clocks in at $14.17. (See Amarin stock-price forecast on TipRanks)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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