Healthcare Review: Gilead Sciences, Stemline Therapeutics, Rosetta Genomics, Prana, Novavax Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 14:19
U.S. stocks edged lower on Wednesday, following a string of four sessions of gains and before the release of the Federal Reserve's statement on the economy and its ultra-loose money policy. The U.S. central bank, which will announce its decision at 2:00 p.m. (1800 GMT), is expected to keep intact its program of buying $85 billion of Treasuries and mortgage securities a month. It may indicate that its aggressive stimulus policy, which is aimed at invigorating the economy, will be extended into 2014. Several key economic indicators have shown weakness.

Deutsche adds Gilead Sciences ($GILD ) to its Short-Term Buy list following the company's Q3 beat and raise. Meanwhile, Needham reiterates a Buy rating as Alan Carr hikes his price target to $85 from $70.Notable takeaways from the Q3 CC: EVP Kevin Young is "encouraged from conversations that [U.S. payers] will reimburse well for sofosbuvir" and says take up for GT2 and GT3 should be "pretty quick." Cowen's Phil Nadeau asks if the company expects ION 1, 2 and 3 (sofosbuvir/ledipasvir) SVR rates to be at least 90% for treatment naïve patients and 80% or higher for treatment experienced patients consistent with Phase 2, to which EVP of R&D and CSO Norbert Bischofberger responds "there is no reason to believe why we wouldn’t."

Aegis boosts its price target on Stemline Therapeutics ($STML) to $70 (from $40). That's good for upside of around 141% from current levels. Like Wedbush's David Nierengarten, analyst Ram Selvaraju likes SL-401 and thinks the drug will get marketing authorization for both blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm and AML, ultimately resulting in peak sales of $800M to $3B.

Rosetta Genomics ($ROSG) slides hard on heavy volume. The move appears to be attributable to Aegis, where analysts have downgraded the shares to Hold from Buy. Price target is now $3.50 (from $10).

Prana Biotechnology ($PRAN) is riding high after saying a paper published in a peer reviewed journal shows "the effects of PBT2 on neurogenesis and in reversing the memory and learning losses associated with the aging process, in normal old mice." (PR)For reference, PRAN is conducting two Phase 2 trials with PBT2. IMAGINE and REACH2HD.A delay in the analysis of data from REACH2HD triggered a sell-off in PRAN last month.

Novavax ($NVAX) is up sharply in morning trading.Helping the cause is FBR's William Tanner, who calls the company "one of the mos compelling small-cap vaccine plays in the biopharma sector by virtue of the vaccine for preventing RSV infection." Although Tanner thinks absence of visibility into stockpiling plans makes it "difficult to ascribe much value" to NVAX's pandemic vaccine programs, he says that "if safe and effective, the [RSV] vaccine could have broad utility for preventing infection in pregnant women, neonates (by virtue of maternal vaccination), infants, and young children and the elderly."

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