Biotech Beat: Analysts Weigh In on Relypsa Inc (RLYP) and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (INO)

Healthcare analysts weighed in today on biotech companies Relypsa Inc (NASDAQ:RLYP) and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO), as Relypsa gained Medicare coverage for Veltassa, the company’s treatment for hyperkalemia, and Inovio is highlighted as a leader in the race for a Zika virus vaccine.

Relypsa Inc

H.C. Wainwright analyst Ed Arce reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Relypsa, with a price target of $63, following the news that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services added Veltassa to the Calendar Year 2016 Formulary Reference File.

Arce noted, “This positive decision by CMS, which we view as a bit early as we had expected it in March, allows for reimbursement to Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs) that adopt Veltassa on formulary. According to analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, there are 886 PDPs available in CY2016. Relypsa expects about 60% of the over 3.0M Veltassa-eligible patient population are covered by Medicare.”

Furthermore, “On Tuesday, we met with Relypsa CEO John Orwin and CFO Kristine Ball. Management highlighted the early progress with the commercial launch of Veltassa, including broad positive feedback from discussions with both physicians and commercial payors. We believe that both physician awareness and favorability of Veltassa are high, and that a significant proportion of targeted physicians have already begun prescribing the drug to patients. Overall, we came away positive from our meeting.”

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Ed Arce has a yearly average return of 8.7% and a 30% success rate. Arce has an -37.8% average return when recommending RLYP, and is ranked #438 out of 3564 analysts.

Out of the 12 analysts polled by TipRanks, 11 rate Relypsa stock a Buy, while 1 rates the stock a Sell. With a return potential of 167%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $46.09.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals

In addition, Maxim analyst Jason McCarthy was out pounding the table on Inovio Pharmaceuticals Friday, reiterating a Buy rating and price target of $14, which represents a potential upside of 126% from where the stock is currently trading.

McCarthy wrote, “While multiple biotechs stepped up for Ebola in 2014 (including Inovio), there are only two players for Zika in 2016 (for now), Inovio and Sanofi. Both Inovio and Sanofi have vaccines for Dengue virus which is related to Zika, they’re both flavi-viruses. Thus it’s not surprising that both companies moved swiftly into Zika, albeit with very different approaches, Sanofi uses attenuated viruses and Inovio uses DNA plasmids, Inovio may have the advantage and could have the first vaccine in humans in less than a year.”

According to, analyst Jason McCarthy has a yearly average return of -28.9% and a 11.9% success rate. McCarthy has a 1.8% average return when recommending INO, and is ranked #3528 out of 3564 analysts.

As of this writing, all the 5 analysts polled by TipRanks rate Inovio stock a Buy. With a return potential of 182%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $17.50.


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