Analysts Shine Light on Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc (MACK) and AEterna Zentaris Inc. (USA) (AEZS)


Merrimack Pharmaceuticals

In a research report sent to investors Wednesday, Cowen’s top analyst Eric Schmidt reiterated a Market Perform rating on shares of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:MACK), after the drug maker reported first-quarter results and hosted a conference call today to report updates of its lead candidates.

Schmidt noted, “Merrimack reported Q1 financials. The company has received $575MM in upfront cash from the sales of Onivyde to Ipsen. Cash will be redeployed into retiring debt (~$195MM); payment of a special dividend ($140MM); and investment into a streamlined pipeline ($125MM) with initial data readouts expected in 2018. We remain on the sidelines pending improved pipeline visibility.”

“While we think the Ipsen transaction provides much needed capital and stability to the shares, we lack confidence in any remaining pipeline assets,” the analyst added.

According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, 5-star analyst Eric Schmidt has a yearly average return of 26.9% and a 57% success rate. Schmidt has a 19.8% average return when recommending MACK, and is ranked #61 out of 4563 analysts.

Out of the five analysts polled by TipRanks (in the past 12 months), four rate Merrimack stock a Hold, while one rates the stock a Buy. With a return potential of 143%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $8.33.

AEterna Zentaris Inc

Due to recent developments in AEterna Zentaris Inc.’s (USA) (NASDAQ:AEZS) product pipeline, H.C. Wainwright analyst Swayampakula Ramakanth has removed all revenues and costs associated with Zoptrex from his financial projections. As such, the analyst slashed his price target for AEZS to $3.00 (from $7.50), while keeping his rating at Buy.

Ramakanth noted, “On May 1, the company announced that the Phase 3 ZoptEC study of Zoptrex for the treatment of advanced endometrial cancer did not meet its primary endpoint and did not provide additional clinical benefit compared to doxorubicin. While only the top line results of the study are available so far, we believe that it is unlikely that Zoptrex will be developed further. On the other hand, following a successful meeting with the FDA at the end of March, management is moving ahead with the preparations to file a New Drug Application (NDA) for Macrilen as diagnosis of adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD). Recall, while the Macrilen Phase 3 study did not meet its predefined primary endpoint of agreement with insulin-tolerance test (ITT), we believe that the study results suggest that this was likely caused by Macrilen’s superior sensitivity and the poorlydefined cutoff points used in the study.”

According to TipRanks.com, analyst Swayampakula Ramakanth has a yearly average return of -18.5% and a 25.9% success rate. Ramakanth has a -66.2% average return when recommending AEZS, and is ranked #4509 out of 4563 analysts.

As of this writing, all the 3 analysts polled by TipRanks (in the past 12 months) remain bullish on Aeterna Zentaris stock. With a return potential of about 327%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $3.50.