On January 5th, biopharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) announced plans to collaborate with Kite Pharma (NASDAQ: KITE) on cancer treatments. The two pharmaceutical companies will join forces to research, develop, and commercialize a cancer therapy using existing drugs and research from both companies.
Sean E. Harper, M.D., executive vice president at Amgen, stated, “The intersection of immunology and oncology represents one of the most promising approaches to delivering significant impact for patients with cancer. With our existing immuno-oncology portfolio of cutting-edge technologies and expertise, we believe joining forces with Kite Pharma will leverage our targets and their leading CAR T cell platform to advance another new promising therapeutic approach to fight cancer.”
In other news, Amgen shares hit an all-time high of $173.14 in October. A few weeks later on December 17th, Amgen announced a 30% dividend increase declared at $0.79, available to all stock holders as of February 12th.
A handful of analysts rated Amgen in light of the announcement to partner with Kite Pharma, along with forward looking statements toward 2015.
On January 6th, analyst Anthony Butler of Barclays initiated coverage of Amgen with an Equal-weight rating and a $180 price target. Butler noted that Amgen will have a hard time sustaining momentum going forward in 2015.
Anthony Butler has an 83% overall success rate recommending stocks from the past year with a +32.4% average return per recommendation.
Separately on January 5th, analyst Cory Kasimov of J.P. Morgan reiterated a Neutral rating on Amgen with a price target of $163. Kasimov noted, “Given [Amgen’s] capital allocation strategy, we believe AMGN offers investors a differentiated investment opportunity vs. other biotechs, which likely contributed to its outperformance in 2014.” He continued, “At this point, however, we believe the near-term potential of new drugs… is largely appreciated by investors… We do believe that recent cost cutting will help the bottom line, and the [company’s] position as the only dividend-issuing biotech should continue to attract generalist interest.” Kasimov concluded, “Bottom line, we believe AMGN’s pipeline and future business mix… are attractive, but with shares meaningfully higher in 2014… we have a hard time finding additional near-term levers for relative upside. Thus, we are maintaining a Neutral rating, but increasing our YE15 PT to $163 from $130.”
Cory Kasimov has a 50% success rate rating stocks over the past year with a +16.6% average return per recommendation.
On January 5th, analyst Matthew Harrison of Morgan Stanley downgraded Amgen from Overweight to Equal-weight with a price target of $177. The rating was based on valuation, and Harrison claims that that Amgen doesn’t have any near-term catalysts.
Matthew Harrison has an 81% success rate recommending stocks over the past year with a +24.2% average return per recommendation.
On average, the top analyst consensus for AMGN on TipRanks is Hold.