Analysts Offer Commentary On Two Biotech Stocks: Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc (MACK), Cytokinetics, Inc. (CYTK)

Analysts weigh in on the biopharmaceutical company Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:MACK) and biotechnology company Cytokinetics, Inc. (NASDAQ:CYTK), with positive ratings and views.

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc

In a research note released today, Brean Capital analyst Jonathan Aschoff reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, with a price target of $16, following the news that the FDA has approved the company’s Onivyde (formerly known as MM-398) in combination with fluorouracil and leucovorin (5-FU/LV) for the treatment of gemcitabineexperienced patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

Aschoff observed, “Onivyde is the first FDA approved treatment for patients in the post-gemcitabine pancreatic cancer setting, and was approved with serious adverse event labeling consistent with irinotecan (boxed warning for severe neutropenia and diarrhea). Merrimack expects to have Onivyde available in the US next Monday, with its distribution network in place. Its unique approval niche in post-gemcitabine pancreatic cancer should facilitate uptake.”

“We do not view the boxed warning as a great concern, given the severity of post-gemcitabine pancreatic cancer. The label, which is much broader than a second line therapy, is based on positive data from a Phase 3 NAPOLI-1 trial,” the analyst added.

Furthermore, “Merrimack ended 2Q15 with $67.7 million in cash and equivalents, which along with the cost-sharing reimbursement and potential milestones to be received in 2015 from Baxalta, should be enough to fund the commercial launch of Onivyde.”

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Jonathan Aschoff has a total average return of -5.6% and a 36.1% success rate. Aschoff has a -1.2% average return when recommending MACK, and is ranked #3701 out of 3801 analysts.

As of this writing, the 3 analysts polled by TipRanks, in the last 3 months, rate Merrimack stock a Buy. With a return potential of 61.64%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $15.

Cytokinetics, Inc.

In a report published Friday, Roth Capital analyst Joseph Pantginis reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Cytokinetics, with a price target of $18, as the company will report third-quarter results after the market close on Thursday, October 29, and host a conference call at 4:30 PM ET.

Pantginis wrote, “Ahead of next week’s 3Q15 call we preview again the upcoming Phase II data from COSMIC-HF with omecamtiv mecarbil, being run globally by Amgen.”

“What we point investors to is that there will be much data to digest from COSMIC with the goal of seeing durability from both PK and PD standpoints. We also want to see that any elevated troponin levels are not contributors to increased cardiovascular risk compared to background “noise” elevations. We continue to look to secondary endpoint data, which could continue to show improvements in 1) systolic ejection time, 2) left-ventricular end-systolic and diastolic diameters, 3) heart rate, 4) stroke volume and 5) omecamtiv effects on NT-proBNP,” the analyst continued.

The analyst concluded, “Ultimately, global partner Amgen and Cytokinetics will jointly decide whether omecamtiv will proceed to Phase III on the totality of clinical data, to date, led by COSMIC-HF and ATOMIC-AHF. This transition to Phase III is where we believe the stock will get the credit.”

According to, analyst Joseph Pantginis has a total average return of -7.4% and a 31.8% success rate. Pantginis has a 19% average return when recommending CYTK, and is ranked #3769 out of 3801 analysts.

All the 4 analysts polled by TipRanks rate Cytokinetics stock a Buy. With a return potential of 98%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $13.50.



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