Analysts Maintain Bullish Stance on Two Biotechs: Opko Health Inc. (OPK) and Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARIA)

Analysts maintain bullish stances on biotech companies Opko Health Inc. (NYSE:OPK) and Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIA). Let’s take a deeper look at why analysts believe these two companies could be good additions to your portfolio’s prescription pad.

Opko Health Inc.

Opko received welcome news yesterday as the FDA approved Rayaldee, the company’s drug to treat hyperparathyroidism. The FDA has initially delayed the approval after identifying manufacturing issues. However, the drug has now been approved ahead of its PDUFA date. Following the news, Oppenheimer analyst Rohit Vanjani remains bullish on the company.

Rayaldee’s approval comes as a major success for OPK. Vanjani is happily surprised at the early approval, mentioning extenuating issues in Opko’s manufacturer, Catalent, but notes that confident management and a successful investor day have kept all parties optimistic for the drug’s success.

According to Vanjani, Opko will likely launch Rayaldee in 4Q16 with 35 contract sales representatives and 10 medical science liaisons. Over the course of the year, the number of sales reps is expected to increase to 75 with OPK adding an additional 10 medical science liaisons.

Vanjani also explains that the company is expected to begin the process of formalizing negotiations with Medicare and commercial payers in the coming weeks, targeting RX price at around $500-$600. The analyst expects Rayaldee pricing of $250/Rx at the outset.

Vanjani notes that based on data from Symphony Health, a pharmaceutical data analytics company, vitamin D prescriptions grew roughly 9% y/y in 2015 and about 5% y/y in 1Q16. Vanjani estimates “a ~0.01% penetration in 2016 growing to 7% penetration by 2020, which represents an out-year sales forecast of ~$675 million.”

Vanjani maintains his Outperform rating for OPKO without providing a price target.

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Rohit Vanjani has a yearly average return of 5.3% and a 49% success rate. Vanjani has a 69.2% average return when recommending OPK, and is ranked #575 out of 3984 analysts.

As of this writing, 3 analysts have a Buy rating for OPKO while 2 remain sidlined. The consensus 12-month price target for OPKO is $16.00, marking a 65% upside.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Following Ariad’s analyst and investor day and anticipating key events in drug approval, Jefferies analyst Eun Yang remains bullish on the stock.

Yang explains that after Ariad’s investor and analyst day, the company maintained FY16 guidance without FY17 guidance provided pending drug, brigatinib’s, timing of approval. The analyst notes that with “FY16 cash of $280M-290M [and] no additional financing likely needed to fund operations,” he expects cash flow to break even in 2018.

Yang explains that ARIA has clearly laid out its goals and milestones for the next 2 to 3 years. He notes, “given meaningful data for larger commercial opportunities, including earlier lines of PH3 trials for inclusig and brigatinib, potential upside from here is likely to be driven by new investors gaining confidence in long-term opportunities of the drugs, in the absence of potential buyouts.”

Yang maintains a Buy rating for ARIA with a price target of $13.00.

TipRanks shows 67% of analysts iterating a Buy rating for ARIA, 17% maintaining a Hold rating, and 16% upholding a Sell rating for the stock. The average price target for ARIA is $10.00, marking a 38% upside.

Stay Ahead of Everyone Else

Get The Latest Stock News Alerts