|Healthcare Review: Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Weight Watchers, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Aveo Oncology, Chelsea Therapeutics|
|By Staff and Wire Reports|
|Friday, 14 February 2014 14:49|
In its Q4 13F, activist investor Sarissa Capital discloses it has a 5.05M-share (3.3%) stake in Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX +1.8%). Shares initially jumped on the disclosure, but have quickly given back some of their gains. Last year, Sarissa took part in a successful proxy battle against Vivus. The firm now has Ariad Pharmaceuticals in its sights.
"Given Weight Watchers’ ($WTW -26.2%) strong brand name and attractive cash flow, offset by its high debt load and sluggish trends, we believe shares should trade at an EV/2014E EBITDA multiple of 11x, relatively in line to other mid-cap healthy lifestyle firms (GNC, HAIN, UNFI, VSI), generating our $19 PT," says Wedbush's Kurt Frederick (it was previously $26)."We are sharply lowering 2014 estimates to reflect current trends and introducing 2015 estimates for revenue of $1.3 billion and EPS of $1.50, reflecting lower membership base entering the year, offset by a lower cost structure."
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ($NASDAQ:ALNY) L Analyst Alan Carr reiterates his Buy rating and boosts the price target to $94 from $65 following last night's Q4 results. "Management reiterated plans to bring at least 6-7 candidates into clinical development by YE15, including two into Phase 3 by YE14," he notes. "Key milestones this year include data from the ALN-TTRsc Phase 2, ALN-AT3 Phase 1, and ALN-TTR02 Phase 2 OLE trials, all in 4Q14.""The Jan 2014 Sanofi collaboration provides a large cash infusion, allowing a much larger R&D effort that may accelerate time to commercialization of multiple programs across multiple territories."
Aveo Oncology ($AVEO) and Japan's Astellas Pharma ($ALPMF) are ending their agreement to develop Aveo's lead drug Tivozanib and they will halt a Phase II study testing its use in colon cancer. The move comes after Aveo said in January that it would end a similar-stage trial of Tivozanib as a treatment for breast cancer because of poor enrollments. In July, the drug was rejected as a treatment for kidney cancer because of inconsistent study results.
Responding to the wild gyrations in its stock today, Chelsea Therapeutics ($CHTP +2%) says no decision regarding Northera NDA has been received from the FDA as of late this morning.