Roth Capital Keeps LIgand Pharma (LGND) at Buy; Glaxo Initiates Promacta Phase III
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Roth Capital affirms Ligand Pharma (Nasdaq: LGND) at Buy with a $92 price target following news that parnter GlaxoSmithKline initiated a phase III of Promacta plus azacitidine in MDS.
Analyst Joseph Pantginis said,
We are encouraged by Promacta's broadening profile. We believe the drug has significant potential in MDS, as MDS-related cytopenias tend to be exacerbated by MDS standard of care azacitidine. There is currently no approved treatment to combat low platelet counts in MDS patients. Recall that Promacta is approved to treat chronic immune (idiopathic) thrombocytopenia (ITP) and approved for increasing platelet counts prior to initiation of interferon therapy in HepC patients. We expect any slack in U.S. sales due to the increasing use of direct antivirals for HepC to be picked up in ex-U.S. sales, where genotypes not targeted by the antivirals are more common. GSK recently divested its oncology portfolio, including Promacta, to Novartis (NVSNC) as part of a larger exchange of assets. We believe Promacta will be in good hands with NVS and expect NVS to continue to develop the drug for various oncology indications. 25 Promacta clinical trials are currently underway. We believe oncology provides significant potential upside for Promacta. With current revenue streams from Promacta and Kyprolis, anticipated nearterm significant revenue contribution from Duavee and CE Melphalan, and increasing requests for Captisol, we believe LGND is positioned for growth. A few key upcoming catalysts include 1) Phase III interim data readouts from the ASPIRE and FOCUS studies for Kyprolis in 3Q14; the CLARION front-line study remains ongoing, 2) 3Q14 NDA filing for CE-Melphalan, 3) 3Q14 Phase III data for CE-Delafloxacin IV, 4) 3Q14 FDA action for Promacta in aplastic anemia and 5) 2H14 launch of Duavee in the E.U.
Ligand Pharma closed at $60.67 yesterday.
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