Ascendis Pharma A/S (ASND) Shares Jump on the Back of Competitor’s Clinical Setback


Investors are snapping up Ascendis Pharma A/S (NASDAQ:ASND) shares following the news that competitor somavaratan long-acting growth hormone is no longer a threat. Specifically, Versartis Inc’s (NASDAQ:VSAR) lead candidate, somavaratan, failed to achieve non-inferiority in the ITT population for the Phase 3 VELOCITY trial in Pediatric Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD), based on higher-than-expected growth velocity for the Genotropin arm.

Looking ahead, Ascendis’ phase 3 heiGHt trial for TC-hGH treatment of pediatric growth hormone deficiency is on track to finish enrollment in the fourth quarter of this year. Ascendis plans to initiate two trials in H2:17 to supplement the heiGHt trial— the fliGHt trial and the enliGHten trial. The Company submitted regulatory filings in Australia to initiate Phase 1 SAD/MAD testing for TC-PTH in September and continues to anticipate initiation of Phase 1 for TC-CNP in 2018.

Shares of Ascendis are up nearly 40% to $38.11 in pre-market trading Friday. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $27.97 and its 200-day moving average is $27.38.

On the ratings front, ASND has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report released today, Wells Fargo analyst Jim Birchenough reiterated a Buy rating on ASND, with a price target of $51, which implies an upside of 84% from current levels. Separately, Wedbush’s Liana Moussatos reiterated a Buy rating on the stock, while boosting the price target to $65 (from $36).

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jim Birchenough and Liana Moussatos have a yearly average return of 26.9% and 8.6% respectively. Birchenough has a success rate of 51% and is ranked #143 out of 4657 analysts, while Moussatos has a success rate of 42% and is ranked #610.

Overall, one research analyst has assigned a Hold rating and 3 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $35.67 which is 28.6% above where the stock closed yesterday.

Ascendis is a biopharmaceutical company, which engages in the development of drug candidates. Through its TransCon technology, it develops a pipeline of sustained release prodrug therapies to address markets with unmet medical needs.