Biotech Beat: Analysts Weigh In on Advaxis, Inc. (ADXS), Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX) and Agenus Inc (AGN)

Considerable strength remains visible among biotechnology stocks, as reflected by the 2.25 percent gain being posted by the iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index today. Among the equities in focus today are biotech company  Advaxis, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADXS), controversial drug giant Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (NYSE:VRX), and small-cap immunotherapy company Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN). Let’s take a look and see what the analysts have to say about ADXS, VRX, and AGEN.

Advaxis, Inc.

Advaxis shares have taken off, adding 31.57% to trade at $10.92, following the news that the FDA has lifted a clinical hold on the company’s cancer drugs, allowing clinical trials to continue.

Reacting was FBR Capital analyst Vernon Bernardino, which reiterated an Outperform rating on Advaxis, with a price target of $34, which represents a potential upside of 211% from where the stock is currently trading.

Bernardino commented, “We believe the news removes a significant overhang on ADXS stock that appears to have persisted since the CH was put in place in October 2015. As a reminder, the CH resulted in response to ADXS’ submission of a safety report to the FDA that was related to a death in a patient with pancreatic cancer who developed an Lm infection and was previously treated with AF, which later was deemed not the cause of her death. As a result, Advaxis’ INDs may resume all clinical trials, which will likely proceed with protocol changes that will mitigate any risk to Lm exposure. As another reminder, the Lm used in AF is live but bioengineered to have no replication machinery, and therefore, can’t be infectious, making ADXS’ Lm-based products safe.”

With the stock down 72% since the highs in June, we believe current prices represent very attractive entry points and therefore recommend adding or starting new positions in ADXS,” the analyst concluded.

According to, analyst Vernon Bernardino has a yearly average return of -26.3% and a 16.7% success rate. Bernardino has a -48.3% average return when recommending ADXS, and is ranked #3620 out of 3632 analysts.

All the 4 analysts polled by TipRanks rate Advaxis Inc stock a Buy. With a return potential of 177.8%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $30.33.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc

Mizuho Securities analyst Irina Rivkind Koffler reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Valeant Pharma, with a price target of $111, as 2016 looks stronger than she originally expected. The company on Wednesday lowered its forecasted 2015 revenue, but the analyst believes that the stock rallied since fears were it could have been even worse.

Koffler wrote, “(1) The financial benefit of the Walgreen’s agreement remains difficult to quantify. We see some modest upside associated with distributing older brands at generic prices if volumes are sufficiently high. (2) The company is not considering any segment divestitures to help more rapidly de-lever the business and guided to $2.25B in 2016 debt repayment. (3) Management hopes to return to more sizable deal flow in 2017 so the business model remains relatively intact as well. (4) We got no visibility into the ongoing internal audit and investigations and still view these issues as an overhang on the stock. (5) We liked the company’s consumer-focus and believe that it has an innovative marketing organization. (6) The R&D presentation did not add much value, in our view, but the company does have success hitting singles and doubles by incrementally improving its existing products or in-licensing late-stage programs. (7) We had hoped for more details around Valeant’s operations in Eastern Europe and the Middle East/ Africa, segments that are likely weaker, and were not highlighted at the investor event.”

According to, analyst Irina Rivkind Koffler has a yearly average return of 45.8% and a 69.6% success rate. Koffler has a 31.3% average return when recommending VRX, and is ranked #1 out of 3632 analysts.

Agenus Inc

Jefferies analyst Biren Amin initiated coverage on shares of Agenus, with a Buy rating and a price target of $8, which represents a potential upside of 75% from where the stock is currently trading.

Amin emphasized his bullish stance on Agenus, noting, “Agenus is developing a comprehensive Immuno-Oncology (IO) platform consisting of multiple checkpoints both fully owned and through partnerships and could be a leader in cancer vaccine development through the deployment of its QS-21 adjuvant which could increase the efficacy of cancer vaccines. AGEN is also partnered with Merck and Incyte across 9 novel IO programs totaling >$450M in milestones. Therefore, AGEN’s $130M EV offers significant upside, in our view.”

According to, analyst Biren Amin has a yearly average return of 9.5% and a 54% success rate. Amin is ranked #383 out of 3632 analysts.

Out of the 6 analysts polled by TipRanks, 5 rate Agenus stock a Buy, while 1 rates the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 158%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $11.75.




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