Healthcare Review: Eli Lilly, Agenus, Pharmacyclics, Cancer Genetics, Fibrocell Science Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Thursday, 26 September 2013 15:07
U.S. stocks rose on Thursday after upbeat job market data and following five days of declines, with investors still focused on the possible economic impact of an ongoing impasse in budget and debt negotiations in Washington. The U.S. Congress, struggling to avert a government shutdown next week, was warned by the Obama administration on Wednesday that the Treasury was quickly running out of funds to pay government bills and could soon face a damaging debt default.

As expected, the Street is out negative on Eli Lilly's ($LLY) ramucirumab, as positive results in gastric cancer aren't enough to make up for the breast cancer miss. "Breast cancer would have been a significant commercial opportunity," Goldman's Jami Rubin says, adding that although "gastric cancer is an area with significant unmet medical need," the ROSE miss may ultimately cost the company dearly on top line. Goldman now sees 2018 ramucirumab sales of $420M versus $1.7B previously. Price target lowered to $54 from $56.

Agenus ($AGEN) announces a non-exclusive licensing deal with PharmLogic LLC for QS-21 Stimulon. The deal allows a PharmLogic subsidiary to use AGEN's adjuvant in a nicotine addiction vaccine. The agreement also "contemplates expansion into [other] vaccine indications." AGEN will be entitled to an upfront payment as well as milestone and royalty payments in the event any of the preclinical candidates make it to market.

All aboard the Pharmacyclics ($PCYC) bandwagon.  JPMorgan's Cory Kasimov is out with new coverage at Overweight. The stock "certainly isn't cheap," Kasimov notes (it's up more than 100% so far this year), but that doesn't stop him from predicting that it's about to get even less cheap: Price target is $142.The rationale: It's all about Ibrutinib (developed with JNJ) which William Blair says may just be the "largest product in hematology oncology history."

Cancer Genetics ($CGIX) shares spike after Aegis Capital initiates the molecular diagnostics company at Buy with an 18-month PT of $25 (potential upside of 80%). Analyst Raghuram Selvaraju is bullish on Cancer Genetics' "broad pipeline of tests ... both commercialized and under development, and with its ability to generate high-margin revenue from partnerships with biopharmaceutical firms that are seeking to develop theranostic solutions for patients."

Fibrocell Science ($FCSC) slips after announcing a public offering with a 15% underwriter option. Proceeds will go towards trials for new azficel-T indications — the cell-based product is currently approved for "smile lines".

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