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AKCA

Akcea Therapeutics

$22.58

0.41 (1.85%)

, NVS

Novartis

$84.85

-1.18 (-1.37%)

11:07
02/27/18
02/27
11:07
02/27/18
11:07

Street Fight: Analysts split on Akcea Therapeutics after volanesorsen update

Shares of Akcea Therapeutics (AKCA) are sliding after three research firms cut their ratings on the stock to Neutral-equivalent ratings. Not all Street firms were as bearish on the company this morning, as BMO Capital raised its price target for Akcea, citing the proximity of volanesorsen commercialization, the upcoming FDA Advisory Committee recommendation in May, and expectations for an on-time approval in August to drive further upside. QUARTERLY RESULTS: Last night, Akcea Therapeutics reported fourth quarter losses per share of (35c), which was worse than the expected (21c). The company also announced fourth quarter revenue of $18.03M, with consensus at $11.92M, and provided an update to key initiatives for its antisense oligonucleotide cardiometabolic/lipid disorder pipeline. MOVING TO SIDELINES: Following the quarterly report and update, Wells Fargo analyst Jim Birchenough downgraded Akcea to Market Perform from Outperform and lowered his price target on the shares to $20 from $27. The analyst argued that the company's disclosure of a proposal to reduce volanesorsen dosing to biweekly in lighter patients to mitigate risk of severe platelet reduction increases regulatory risk on questions of adequacy of the lower dose in reducing triglycerides to key threshold levels and in reducing risk of pancreatitis. In addition, given non-compliant patient monitoring associated with one case of severe thrombocytopenia and the most recent case in a patient at the lower dose intensity, the analyst believes adequacy of monitoring and dose adjustment could be questioned as well. Voicing a similar opinion, Stifel analyst Stephen Willey also downgraded Akcea Therapeutics to Hold from Buy, with a $20 price target, stating that the FDA's upcoming Advisory Committee meeting on May 10 is a potential source of volatility and he would prefer to watch from the sidelines. The analyst told investors that the FDA is likely to emphasize patient safety data, while any post-approval implementation of stringent patient monitoring/management protocols and the utilization of an also yet-to-be-completely-disclosed dosing algorithm may serve to narrow the addressable opportunity and negatively impact patient adoption and persistency. Meanwhile, Cowen analyst Eric Schmidt also cut Akcea Therapeutics' rating to Market Perform from Outperform, citing the company's disclosure of a new case of severe thrombocytopenia on volanesorsen, which he believes increases the regulatory risk ahead of the May 10 advisory committee meeting. Additionally, the analyst noted that volanesorsen's commercial potential could be encumbered by more stringent warnings and monitoring. UPSIDE AHEAD: Conversely, BMO Capital analyst Do Kim reiterated an Outperform rating for Akcea, while raising his price target on the shares to $30 from $25 given the proximity of volanesorsen commercialization, partly offset by higher expenses. The analyst told investors that he expects a positive AdCom recommendation in May for volanesorsen and on-time approval in August to drive upside in 2018. Additionally, Kim said he believes an Apo(a)-LRx Phase IIb readout in the second half of 2018 and subsequent licensing by partner Novartis (NVS) could drive additional upside in shares. PRICE ACTION: In morning trading, shares of Akcea Therapeutics have dropped over 30% to $15.80.

AKCA

Akcea Therapeutics

$22.58

0.41 (1.85%)

NVS

Novartis

$84.85

-1.18 (-1.37%)

  • 02

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AKCA Akcea Therapeutics
$22.58

0.41 (1.85%)

02/27/18
STFL
02/27/18
DOWNGRADE
Target $20
STFL
Hold
Akcea Therapeutics downgraded to Hold at Stifel ahead of FDA AdComm
As previously reported, Stifel analyst Stephen Willey downgraded Akcea Therapeutics to Hold from Buy, stating that the FDA's upcoming Advisory Committee meeting on May 10 is a potential source of volatility he would prefer to watch from the sidelines. The FDA is likely to emphasize patient safety data, not all of which has been fully disclosed, and any post-approval implementation of stringent patient monitoring protocols may narrow the addressable opportunity, Willey tells investors. He keeps a $20 price target on Akcea shares, which were also downgraded at Wells Fargo and Cowen this morning.
02/27/18
COWN
02/27/18
DOWNGRADE
COWN
Market Perform
Akcea Therapeutics downgraded to Market Perform at Cowen
As reported previously, Cowen analyst Eric Schmidt downgraded Akcea Therapeutics to Market Perform form Outperform. The analyst cited the company's disclosure of a new case of severe thrombocytopenia on volanesorsen, which he believes increase the regulatory risk ahead of the May 10 advisory committee meeting. His downgrade is pending greater clarity, he added.
02/27/18
BMOC
02/27/18
NO CHANGE
Target $30
BMOC
Outperform
Akcea Therapeutics price target raised to $30 from $25 at BMO Capital
BMO Capital analyst Do Kim raised his price target on Akcea Therapeutics to $30 after the company's Q4 results, saying the earnings miss was due to higher operating expenditures for support of the pre-launch commercialization efforts for volanesorsen and four ongoing Phase II studies. Despite the miss, Kim notes that the new price target reflects his model on the proximity of volanesorsen commercialization, anticipating a positive AdCom recommendation in May for volanesorsen and on-time approval in August to drive further upside. The analyst keeps his Outperform rating on Akcea Therapeutics.
02/27/18
02/27/18
DOWNGRADE

On The Fly: Top five analyst downgrades
Catch up on today's top five analyst downgrades with this list compiled by The Fly: 1. Nutrisystem (NTRI) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Barrington by analyst Matthew Gall following last night's Q4 results. The company's flattish guidance for 2018, compared to double-digit growth expectations on sales and earnings, will likely put a ceiling on the stock for the next couple of quarters, Galls said. 2018 may well prove to be a reset year for Nutrisystem, the analyst added. 2. Akcea Therapeutics (AKCA) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo by analyst Jim Birchenough. With a new proposal to reduce volanesorsen dose to biweekly in lighter patients to mitigate risk of severe platelet reduction, the analyst sees increased regulatory risk on questions of adequacy of the lower dose in reducing triglycerides to key threshold levels and in reducing risk of pancreatitis. Shares were also downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen and to Hold from Buy at Stifel. Stifel analyst Stephen Willey said that the FDA's upcoming Advisory Committee meeting on May 10 is a potential source of volatility he would prefer to watch from the sidelines. 3. Badger Meter (BMI) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Canaccord Genuity by analyst Chip Moore. With "lackluster" organic growth trends in the company's core utility water metering market and shares trading near all-time peak valuation ranges, the stock has downside risk, Moore said. He believes competitive pressures could be intensifying and that near-term margins are unlikely to move materially higher. 4. Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO) downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc by analyst Chris Stevens, who said the company in Q4 missed on oil production while capex was high. Further, Q1 production was guided "shockingly low," Stevens said. The Delaware appears a "more challenging place to operate" than expected and the Eagle Ford is "showing signs of fatigue," the analyst contended. Johnson Rice also downgraded shares to Accumulate from Buy. 5. Ingevity (NGVT) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Loop Capital by analyst Chris Kapsch, who cited a more balanced risk/reward at current share levels. The analyst still likes the fundamental story, and raised his price target for the shares to $83 from $80, but cited valuation for the downgrade. This list is just a portion of The Fly's full analyst coverage. To see The Fly's full Street Research coverage,
NVS Novartis
$84.85

-1.18 (-1.37%)

01/25/18
CANT
01/25/18
NO CHANGE
Target $105
CANT
Overweight
Cantor reiterates $105 target on Spark Therapeutics after Novartis deal
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Elemer Piros reiterates an Overweight rating on Spark Therapeutics (ONCE) with a $105 price target after the company announced a licensing and supply agreement with Novartis (NVS). The deal further emphasizes the "significant value" of Luxturna's commercial opportunity, Piros tells investors in a research note. He believes the agreement places the drug with a strong commercial partner outside the U.S. while enabling Spark to remain focused on the domestic launch and development pipeline.
01/25/18
LEER
01/25/18
NO CHANGE
Target $100
LEER
Market Perform
Novartis price target raised to $100 from $93 at Leerink
Leerink analyst Seamus Fernandez raised his price target for Novartis to $100 from $93 following a "strong" quarter and above-consensus 2018 guidance. The analyst reiterates a Market Perform rating on the shares.
02/08/18
RBCM
02/08/18
INITIATION
Target $65
RBCM
Outperform
Spark Therapeutics assumed with an Outperform at RBC Capital
RBC Capital analyst Kennen MacKay assumed coverage of Spark Therapeutics (ONCE) with an Outperform rating and a price target of $65. MacKay says the FDA approval of Luxturna and "ex-Novartis (NVS) collaboration" helps to de-risk the company's earlier-stage hemophilia and inherited retinal disease assets, calling Spark Therapeutics a "trailblazer in the gene therapy space".
02/12/18
LEER
02/12/18
NO CHANGE
Target $502
LEER
Outperform
Data from Regeneron Eylea competitors should lift some overhang, says Leerink
Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges says that the "confusing and somewhat lackluster data" presented over the weekend for Eylea's theoretical competitors should lift some of the overhang that Regeneron's stock has suffered from over the last 6 months. Novartis' (NVS) brolucizumab pivotal trial is confusing, and the data incomplete, and the analyst has serious doubts about the drug's approvability. Secondly, the addition of Ang2 inhibition to VEGF inhibition, while theoretically intriguing, has so far been of modest benefit despite Roche's (RHHBY) posturing, he contends. Porges reiterates an Outperform rating and $502 price target on Regeneron's shares.

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