Leerink Continues to Cheer Exelixis, Inc. (EXEL) as a Top Pick Following Cotellic Updates at Society for Melanoma Research Congress

Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL) just announced a clinical update from ongoing trials evaluating its pipeline drug Cotellic (cobimetinib), the biotech firm-created MEK inhibitor that is now part of a collaboration with Roche, in combination with additional therapies designed to treat variations of advanced melanoma. The firm presented new data read-outs at the Society for Melanoma Research (SMR) Congress in Boston.

Leerink analyst Michael Schmidt believes these updates “bode well” for the firm with forthcoming Phase III trials underway and he subsequently reiterates an Outperform rating on shares of EXEL with a $16 price target, which represents a 24% increase from where the shares last closed.

From the analyst’s perspective, “Among three featured presentations the most intriguing and surprising data clearly came from an update of the ongoing Ph Ib combination trial of cobimetinib with atezolizumab which already triggered initiation of a pivotal Ph III trial in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) earlier this year around ASCO.”

Moreover, Schmidt notes, “New data presented at SMR today from a second dose-expansion cohort in melanoma further seem to support Roche’s hypothesis of potential synergistic immunological activity when combining a MEK inhibitor with anti-PDL1.”

“The significantly expanding development program of cobimetinib, now with three additional Phase III trials ongoing or planned, reinforces our investment thesis on EXEL. The stock continues to remain our top-pick based on our view that recently FDA approved Cabometyx is well positioned to capture significant market share in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), with significant label expansion opportunities in addl. large oncology indications such as bladder or liver cancer that could drive significant additional upside,” Schmidt 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, five-star analyst Michael Schmidt is ranked #336 out of 4,186 analysts. Schmidt has a 46% success rate and gains 8.5% in his yearly returns. When recommending EXEL, Schmidt garners 63.3% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics indicate EXEL as a Strong Buy. Out of 6 analysts polled by TipRanks, 100% are bullish on Exelixis stock. With a return potential for nearly 47%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $18.33.

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