Biotech Beat: Analysts Weigh In on Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX) and Inovio Pharmaceutials Inc (INO)

Analysts from Maxim Group and Mizuho Securities weigh in on controversial drug giant Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) and biotech company Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO). The analysts reflect on Valeant’s CEO Micheal Pearson health and Inovio’s VGX-3100 prospects.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc

Analyst Jason McCarthy of Maxim Group weighed in on Inovio after reviewing his stance on VGX-3100, the company’s vaccine for cervical dysplasia. While he reiterates his Buy rating, the analyst expects a delay in commercialization to 2020, and as a result decreased his price target to $14 from $23. However, he notes his lowered price target is still much higher than the current price of about $6.

The analyst continues by highlighting several recent positive developments in the past year. First, the analyst notes that “he [expects] to see clinical progress” by 2018, as the company has a favorable cash position to fund projects until then. He also cites millions in royalties and sales in Q3 from a partnership with MedImmune. The analyst is also bullish regarding the company’s pipeline, with drug VGX-3100 entering a phase 3 study this year. Also, the company’s ebola vaccine finished enrollment for its phase 1 study, among other progressions in the pipeline. The analyst states that “initiation of phase II studies of INO-3112 with Medimmune and progress in Ebola…should tell us more about DNA-based monoclonal antibodies (dMAbs)” and that the company could use this technology “to make they’re [sic] own checkpoints.”

According to TipRanks’ statistics, 2 analysts rated the company in the past 3 months with a Buy rating. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $16.50, marking a 163% upside from where shares last closed.

INO Consensus

Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc

Analyst Irina Rivkind Koffler of Mizuho Securities weighed in on Valeant following news that the company will appoint an interim CEO in Pearson’s absence, who is currently hospitalized for pneumonia. The news sent shares plummeting in after hours and pre-market trading. Like investors, the analyst is worried about a lack of positive updates regarding Pearson’s health, stating that “by now we should be hearing about news of a recovery.”

She also mentions that bullishness on Valeant is long gone, citing additional investor concern over other “negative coverage” on the company, and views leadership as key in determining company health. According to the analyst, other reasons for caution include the selling of shares by major stakeholders and “shortcomings in Valeant’s succession plan.” Until the company formally comments on the matter, the analyst is maintaining her neutral rating on the company with a $130 price target and expects “continued volatility” in the share price.

Analyst Irina Rivkind Koffler is ranked #2 out of 3,701 on TipRanks. She has a 72% success rate recommending stocks with an average return of 43.3% per recommendation.

Irina Koffler Consensus

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