Analysts Mixed on Two Biotech Giants: Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX) and Allergan plc Ordinary Shares (AGN)

Amid big changes underway for Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) and an acquisition that has some investors raising an eyebrow at Allergan plc Ordinary Shares (NYSE:AGN) following a decision to acquire a weaker biotech firm with a failure drug tagged to its name, healthcare analysts provide mixed views. Let’s take a closer look:

Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc

Today, Deutsche Bank Gregg Gilbert re-instated coverage on shares of pharmaceutical giant Valeant with a Hold rating and price target of $30, which represents a 13% increase from where the shares last closed.

Ahead of third-quarter results expected late October or by early November, Gilbert notes he keeps his model estimates “preliminary,” expecting significant changes ahead for the biotech giant. Among these changes, Gilbert anticipates “debt structure, material divestments of products and geographies, and a new outlook from a recently-hired CFO that we believe will want to instill a strong ‘meet or beat’ culture when it comes to guidance.”

With transition on the horizon, the analyst asserts, “We believe that our new model has a conservative slant over all, as it does not include new product flow from the pipeline and assumes a relatively negative assumption for the duration of the company’s largest product, Xifaxan. On the other hand, we do not factor in any fines for ongoing investigations and law suits, and we assume that revenue for the dermatology business begins to rebound in 2H16 and into ’17.”

Gilbert projects Xifaxan, the company’s largest product, will hit sales in the ballpark of $844 million for 2016 and $953 million come 2017, a reflection of “continued solid but decelerating volume growth.” In regards to VRX’s prized dermatology segment, Gilbert anticipates a major boost in sales for the second half of this year in comparison to the first half, an indication of “an improvement in sales per Rx related to VRX’s enhancements to the Walgreens access program (implemented in early August).”

Over the next 18 months, on a tide of cash flow and non-core asset sale funding, the giant hopes to cut its $31 billion of debt by over $5 billion. For now, Gilbert expects a prospective urgency for added capital and/or refinancing options to confront “debt maturities” for 2020.

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, three-star analyst Gregg Gilbert is ranked #1,715 out of 4,166 analysts. Gilbert has a 50% success rate and gains 1.1% in his yearly returns.

TipRanks analytics demonstrate VRX as a Hold. Based on 16 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 5 rate a Buy on VRX, 9 maintain a hold, while 2 issue a Sell. The consensus price target stands at $40.08, marking a nearly 52% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

Allergan plc Ordinary Shares

Allergan made waves today in the market entering into an agreement to acquire Tobira Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:TBRA) in exchange for an up-front payment of $28.35 per share upfront, which marks a 498% premium to previous close, with up to $49.84 in CVRs payable once certain developmental, regulatory, and commercial milestones are completed, totaling a prospective consideration in the range of $1.695 billion.

Investors might be up in arms, as the biotech giant has chosen to acquire a smaller firm who has failed to meet its primary endpoint in the NASH phase IIb trial for TBRA gastroenterology asset cenicriviroc (CVC). Yet, TBRA has more than one asset and more than one trial at play, with efficacy on a pre-specified fibrosis secondary endpoint end-of-Phase II meeting forthcoming this year, with a Phase III trial to soon follow next year.

Despite deeming this a seemingly not glamorous acquisition to the outside investor world, Mizuho top analyst Irina Rivkind Koffler anticipates more in-depth details to glean what the larger context at hand truly is before dismissing the asset’s value. As such, Koffler reiterates a Buy rating on AGN with a price target of $305, which represents a 28% increase from where the shares last closed. From Koffler’s assessment, the total upfront consideration likely will be $629 million, taking into account both diluted shares as well as options and warrants.

The analyst explains, “AGN is weak today since it is acquiring a company whose program “failed” on headlines, but we don’t think the story is that straight forward and there could be some potential value tied to this asset. We reiterate our Buy rating and $305 PT as we expect the AGN stock to edge higher on execution while the company builds out its pipeline.”

“AGN is not getting any credit for its deals at this time but we would expect the stock to appreciate with strong guidance and continued execution, especially post-election,” Koffler concludes.

As usual, we like to include the analyst’s track record when reporting on new analyst notes to give a perspective on the effect it has on stock performance. According to TipRanks, top five-star analyst Irina Rivkind Koffler has achieved a high ranking of #20 out of 4,166 analysts. Koffler upholds a 58% success rate and realizes 22.5% in her annual returns. However, when recommending AGN, Koffler loses 11.1% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics demonstrate AGN as a Strong Buy. Based on 13 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 12 rate a Buy on AGN, while 1 maintains a Hold. The consensus price target stands at $298.82, marking a 25% upside from where the stock is currently trading.


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