Amarin (AMRN): New Survey Offers Insight Into Vascepa Market Opportunity


Amarin’s (AMRN) Vascepa is currently approved to treat around 3.8 million Americans with high triglycerides, as an adjunct to diet. In the first quarter, the company will submit an application to the FDA that could expand Vascepa’s sales many times over, by including cardiac-event reductions for the enormous population of patients on statin therapy with high triglyceride levels. In other words, Amarin can make it rain for investors if the FDA expands Vascepa’s label and opens the door for millions of new potential patients to this therapy.

Indeed, after surveying 50 physicians (36% PCPs, 32% endocrinologists and 32% cardiologists) regarding Vascepa, Cantor analyst Louise Chen says the results underscore his belief that the market opportunity is underappreciated.

Ahead of what he expects to be an acceleration in the uptake of Vascepa in 2019+, Chen reiterates an Overweight rating on Amarin stock with a price target of $35, which represents a potential upside of 104% from where the stock is currently trading. (To watch Chen’s track record, click here)

“~52% of physicians noted the high triglyceride patients they see have CV risk factors beyond what can be mitigated by cholesterol management. The REDUCE-IT study positions Vascepa to be the first drug to cost-effectively help address CV risk beyond cholesterol management. Results were presented at AHA and published in NEJM. AMRN is pursuing label expansion and additional patents for Vascepa,” Chen stated. “Most doctors ready to use more Vascepa now. The doctors in our survey said they would increase their usage of Vascepa by ~100% YOY. The data from the REDUCE-IT trial is the key driver. The NEJM publication was also noted as a highly impactful. Finally, the majority of doctors said the VITAL and ASCEND studies also helped drive increased usage of Vascepa. Only 23% said they would wait for label expansion. If this is accurate, AMRN’s forecast sales forecast for 2019 could prove conservative. AMRN expects net revenue to increase by >50% in 2019 to ~$350MM. This assumes no benefit from label expansion.”

Bottom line: “We think the REDUCE-IT data are just the beginning of a new paradigm to treat CV disease. The market is a lot bigger than anticipated, in our view. Before going generic, statins sold $34B+/year. Even the highest estimates do not assume anything close to this for Vascepa and omega-3s.”

This ‘Strong Buy’ stock is no Wall Street secret. After all, in just three months, the stock has attracted 5 ‘buy’ ratings from healthcare analysts. With a return potential of 76%, the stock’s consensus price target stands at $30.20. In other words, optimism backs this fish oil drug maker story. (See AMRN’s price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks)

 

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