Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA) shares were already skyrocketing in a nice 12% comeback on Friday after the troubled Israeli biotech firm posted a successful Phase 3 HALO trial read-out for its migraine drug fremanezumab- a win the firm desperately needed after former CEO Erez Vigodman bowed out, with $30 billion in debt left behind him. With a firm whose debt shackles tower at double the present-day value of the actual company and news of 7,000 layoffs across the globe ominously waiting to close out the year, this clinical win was encouraging indeed.
The “good news” just piles on, as today, investors are sending shares racing almost 17% on back of the news Kare Schultz, the CEO of Danish-based pharma firm Lundbeck is tasked to move to company headquarters in Petah Tikva, Israel to guide the troubled firm back to its former glory.
Cantor analyst Louise Chen had just said in his last cautiously optimistic research note that “It’s not if, it’s when we should be buying TEVA shares,” advising investors not to “throw away the key yet” on this biotech player. Even before the announcement, Chen had believed a “new CEO could unlock value for Tesla shares.” Now, the analyst sings the praises of Tesla’s Board of Director’s leadership move to appoint Schultz as the new and permanent President and CEO, “because it is the first step in improving visibility for the company’s path forward,” anticipating Schultz will also assist the firm in hiring a new CFO.
“Mr. Schultz’s nearly 30 year healthcare career includes serving as President and CEO of H. Lundbeck […] since 2015 and before that as COO of Novo Nordisk […] Interestingly, these are both brand pharma companies so we wonder what his plans are for Teva’s brand business going forward, and how he will turn around Teva’s generics business,” highlights Chen, noting that it matters how the new leader “navigates through” generics headwinds, Copaxone rivalry in the generics market, as well as looming debt load with rocky cash flow waters ahead. Yet, the analyst anticipates under Schultz’s command, Tesla now has “more visibility” as it attempts a much-needed turnaround.
The reason Chen expects Schultz is just the right CEO for the difficult job? “We think Mr. Schultz’s experience leading financial and restructuring initiatives at global pharmaceutical and healthcare companies could help unlock value for TEVA shares,” explains the analyst, who notes that in Schultz’s time at his former Danish firm, the company likewise “faced the loss of key patents” to see the CEO put in place “an effective turnaround strategy by lowering operating costs and targeting new product launches.”
Ultimately, the analyst commends the Israeli biotech firm’s worldwide pursuit to find new leadership as one finalized with important “success,” and reiterates a Neutral rating on TEVA stock with a price target of $17, which implies a 2% downside from where the shares last closed. (To watch Chen’s track record, click here)
The rest of the Street surveys the troubled biotech firm from the sidelines as it attempts to implement a comeback, considering TipRanks analytics demonstrate TEVA as a Hold. Out of 15 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 12 remain sidelined on Teva stock while 3 are bearish. With a return potential of nearly 75%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $27.06.