This article was originally published on this site
By Lee Jackson
Needless to say, the biotech world has had a very difficult year. Even the biggest and the best companies, many of which trade cheaper than big pharmaceutical companies, have suffered as investors have fled the sector. Much of the blame for the poor showing is the very shrill election-year rhetoric from politicians over drug pricing, and while there is always an argument for lower prices, taking down an entire sector is extreme.
The XBI biotech index is up 10% in September, and some on Wall Street contend that the political chatter and overhang worry is going away, despite the ongoing scrutiny at Mylan, where the CEO took a beating from a congressional panel Wednesday.
A series of research reports from Wedbush focus on upcoming catalysts for stocks in the firm’s coverage universe. The three featured here are rated Outperform and have at least 100% potential upside to the posted price targets. These companies also presented at last month’s Wedbush PacGrow Healthcare Conference.
This company has big phase 3 enrollment and results coming over the next year. Aimmune Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: AIMT) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of desensitization treatments for peanut and other food allergies. The company’s Characterized Oral Desensitization Immunotherapy includes AR101, a product in Phase 3 registration trial for the treatment of peanut allergy in children and adults.
The Wedbush team note that the complete enrollment for the Phase 3 PALISADE trial and the data from the trial will be forthcoming. Needless to say, a positive result would be huge as peanut and other food allergy issues can be extremely dangerous. The enrollment should be completed this year and the results in the second half of 2017.
The Wedbush analysts also noted this in the report:
We believe the study is likely to ease any regulatory concerns while aiding in commercial adoption of AR101. RAMSES is a double blind, placebo controlled trial, slated to enroll ~400 patients from the U.S. Unlike Aimmune’s Phase 2 and ongoing PALISADE trials, RAMSES will not use an oral food challenge for entry but will select patients based on criteria used in real-world clinical practice, including a medical history of IgE-mediated reactions to peanuts, skin-prick test and analyses of peanut specific immunological markers.
The Wedbush price target for the stock is a gigantic $42, and the Wall Street consensus target is $37.75. The stock closed most recently at $16.23 per share.
This stock has been on a roller-coaster for years and is now trading where it was in 2013. Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: PCRX) is a specialty pharmaceutical company that develops, commercializes and manufactures proprietary pharmaceutical products primarily for use in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers in the United States. The company develops pharmaceutical products based on its proprietary DepoFoam drug delivery technology. Its lead product includes, Exparel, a liposome injection of bupivacaine, an amide-type anesthetic indicated for infiltration into the surgical site to produce postsurgical analgesia.
The company also markets DepoCyt(e), a liposomal formulation of the chemotherapeutic agent cytarabine indicated for the intrathecal treatment of lymphomatous meningitis, a life-threatening complication of lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. Its development pipeline comprises DepoMeloxicam, a long-acting non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, which is in preclinical development for the treatment of acute postsurgical pain, and DepoTranexamic Acid, a pre-clinical development product for the treatment or prevention of excessive blood loss during surgery by promoting hemostasis.
The Wedbush team note that the company still has a since rescinded FDA warning letter pall hanging over the stock, but they think that the new promotional strategy for Exparel will yield solid results. The firm noted in a recent report:
We remain optimistic that the additional commercial effort being made including the combination of Pacira increasing its salesforce to 120 and training them on the new and expanded EXPAREL label are likely to continue to gradually increase sales growth. We anticipate an additional sales catalyst in Q3 with launch of EXPAREL for oral and maxillofacial procedures following introduction of a smaller EXPAREL configuration at AAOMS; however, the third quarter is historically a seasonally slow quarter.
Wedbush has a stunning $109 price target for the stock, while the consensus target is $70.78. Both are well above Wednesday’s close at $36.81, after a drop almost 9% on the day.
The Wedbush team is also very positive on this large cap company. United Therapeutics Corp. (NASDAQ: UTHR) develops and commercializes products to address the unmet medical needs of patients with chronic and life-threatening diseases worldwide.
The company’s principal therapeutic products and product candidates include Remodulin, an injection used for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH); Tyvaso, an inhaled prostacyclin therapy for PAH; Adcirca, a once-daily oral therapy for PAH; Orenitram, a prostacyclin analog for PAH; Unituxin, an antibody that binds to cancerous tumors and destroys the cancer cells; and engineered lungs and lung tissue that can be transplanted into patients suffering from PAH and other lung diseases.
Wedbush highlights the FREEDOM-EV and BEAT enrollment this year, with data to follow in 2017, and the potential new drug application (NDA) approval for a Remodulin implantable pump next year as top catalysts for this outstanding company.
The Wedbush price target is a huge $229. The consensus target is much lower at $129.80, and note that the shares closed near that level on Wednesday at $122.37.
Three big opportunities for aggressive investors. There are also substantial risks, should the outcomes not play out favorably. With that in mind, some smaller speculative positions could be the right play for aggressive, risk-tolerant accounts.