Citi analyst Mohit Bansal says Vertex Pharmaceuticals continues to be his top pick in large-cap biotech. Vertex could be the next entry in the $100B market cap club, Bansal tells investors in a research note. He highlights the company's strong base-business growth, long patent life and pipeline catalyst with AAT in the second half of 2020. Bansal favors names with near-term pipeline catalysts over valuation and sees Amgen (AMGN) and Regeneron (REGN) as the next tier names in rankings. Overall, he thinks the sector is "under-owned."
Stifel analyst Benjamin Burnett initiated coverage of Mirati Therapeutics (MRTX) with a Buy rating and $202 price target. The analyst states that his positive thesis is predicated on expectations of adagrasib differentiating from Amgen's (AMGN) LUMAKRAS by showing superior brain activity, and that this will make up for being a second mover in the KRASG12C non-small cell lung cancer setting. Burnett adds that he also believes that the recent adagrasib data in 3L colorectal cancer is supportive of approval and therefore represents an immediate label expansion opportunity.
BMO Capital analyst Matthew Luchini raised the firm's price target on Regeneron (REGN) to $706 from $669 and keeps an Outperform rating on the shares. The company's full EMPOWER-3 data presented at ESMO confirms the survival benefit of Libtayo+chemo over chemo alone, reinforcing previously announced top-line data, the analyst tells investors in a research note. Luchini adds that he continues to see Regeneron's oncology portfolio as "increasingly diversified" with initial co-stim data in 2022, stating that the totality of data points in Libtayo indicate a "competitive profile" relative to Merck's (MRK) Keytruda.