Amarin (AMRN) Vascepa Growth Continues; Sees Limited Negative Read-Through from Merck's HPS2-THRIVE

March 11, 2013 10:54 AM EDT
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MKM Partners commented on Amarin Corporation (NASDAQ: AMRN) Monday as Vascepa prescription continue to gain momentum although sales might fall below the consensus.

The firm notes that after eight weeks, Vascepa total weekly prescriptions increased to 1,017 for the week ending March 1 from 838 the week prior (up 21% week over week). Analyst Jon LeCroy said current growth continues, assuming a wholesale cost of $184 per prescription and a prescription under-reporting rate of 22%, that would imply 1Q13 Vascepa sales of approximately $2.1mn (FactSet consensus estimate = $6.7mn) and 2Q13 Vascepa sales of approximately $9.4mn (FactSet consensus estimate = $15.2mn).

On the Merck's HPS2-THRIVE trial, LeCroy said he sees limited negative read-through. "Merck's HPS2-THRIVE trial showed that Tredaptive (extended-release niacin/laropiprant) did not significantly reduce cardiovascular (CV) events, although it did numerically reduce CV events by 4%," he notes. "We view this positively for REDUCE-IT, as THRIVE failed to disprove that there is added CV benefit from increasing HDL and lowering triglycerides. Tredaptive also showed a significant increase in serious adverse events, most of which are known side effects of niacin. The side effects from Vascepa have been minimal, so we do not expect to see a significant excess of adverse events in patients treated with Vascepa in REDUCE-IT."

On the FDA Orange Book, the analyst sees an updated on March 15 but continues to assume that Amarin will be unable to successfully petition the FDA to grant Vascepa NCE status.

The firm reiterated a Buy rating and $12 price target. The analyst estimates that there is a 5% chance that Amarin will partner Vascepa, a 20% chance that the company will be acquired and a 75% chance that Amarin will continue to market Vascepa itself.

For an analyst ratings summary and ratings history on Amarin Corporation click here. For more ratings news on Amarin Corporation click here.

Shares of Amarin Corporation closed at $8.48 yesterday.

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