The markets might be in turmoil, but spare a thought for the current woes at biotech Amarin (AMRN). Over the past 7 trading sessions, shares have retreated by 44% as investors charged to the exit doors following a botched date in court.
Last week, an appeals court rejected Amarin’s appeal concerning a lost patent court case against generic drug makers Hikma Pharmaceuticals and Dr. Reddy’s, who are seeking to bring to market their own versions of Amarin’s high triglyceride treatment Vascepa.
As Vascepa is Amarin’s only product, the ruling has obviously spooked investors, who are concerned the treatment’s vast commercial opportunity is fading fast. However, Cantor analyst Louise Chen argues the game is far from over.
Chen said, “We continue to think that AMRN's EU opportunity is underappreciated and that generics companies will not be able to manufacture enough product to meet the demand in the U.S. market. We still believe that AMRN may generate strategic interest, possibly from an EU company with an established cardiovascular franchise.”
Chen’s remarks echo those made by Amarin following the negative ruling. The company will request an en banc review of the panel decision, but in the meantime have stressed its “go-forward strategy” remains the same. Regulatory approval for Vascepa in the EU is expected shortly and Amarin should launch Vascepa in the region early next year.
Furthermore, the biotech and its partners are still in the hunt for additional regulatory approvals for Vascepa in China, and in additional countries in the Middle East (Vascepa is already approved in Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates), and “remain confident in the global market potential of Vascepa.”
All in all, Chen rates AMRN an Overweight (i.e. Buy), although the “downward earnings estimate revisions for U.S. sales of Vascepa” result in a price target reduction. The figure is slashed from $35 to $15. Nevertheless, upside from current levels is a plentiful 268%. (To watch Chen’s track record, click here)
The rest of the Street also expects more upside. Going by the $11.38 average price target, the analysts expect shares to add a hefty 179% over the next 12 months. The stock currently has a Moderate Buy consensus rating, based on 6 Buys and 4 Holds. (See AMRN stock analysis on TipRanks)
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