Canaccord analyst Neil Maruoka expressed a cautious stance today on drug maker AEterna Zentaris Inc. (USA)(NASDAQ:AEZS), after the company reported fourth-quarter financial results that were below his expectations on a lighter top line and higher SG&A expenses. The analyst emphasizes his understanding of looming risks and reduces his price target for the stock to $9.00 (from $13.00), while reiterating a Speculative Buy rating on the stock.

Maruoka commented, “Æterna Zentaris has established commercialization agreements for several products in endocrinology and oncology, but the revenue ramp has been slow. While these products are complementary to Æterna Zentaris’ pipeline, we believe investors should look to Zoptrex and Macrilen as drivers of shareholder value.”

The analyst explained the new target noting, “We value Æterna Zentaris based on a probability weighted NPV model of its most advanced therapies, using a 15% discount rate and a 45% probability of success for Zoptarelin in endometrial cancer. After updating our model and estimates for the additional common shares issued as part of the most recent equity financing, our target price is reduced to US$9.00, which represents an annualized forecast return of 183% and continues to support our SPECULATIVE BUY rating.”

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Neil Maruoka has a total average return of -35% and a 18% success rate. Maruoka has a -46.5% average return when recommending AEZS, and is ranked #3763 out of 3775 analysts.

All the 3 analysts polled by TipRanks rate Aeterna Zentaris stock a Buy. With a return potential of 267%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $12.

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