This past Sunday, at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress, Novartis posted a data read-out from its pivotal Phase 3 CANTOS trial assessing quarterly injections of ACZ885 (canakinumab) in people with a prior heart attack and inflammatory atherosclerosis. The results? Participants experienced a reduction in inflammation under the median hsCRP, an indicated 27% relative risk on primary MACE end-point.
This begs the following question: How exactly does Amarin Corporation plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:AMRN) fall into the cardiovascular therapy mix of Novartis’ results?
According to Cantor analyst Louise Chen, a great deal, as she trumpets, pay attention to “this catch of the day,” for the outcome proves her bullish contention: a long-term drug treatment with an anti-inflammatory mechanism in patients who have once had a heart attack and inflammatory atherosclerosis can offer a reduction of cardiovascular (CV) events. In other words, Novartis has just bolstered Chen’s conviction in Amarin’s REDUCE-IT (Reduction of Cardiovascular Events Outcomes) to clear the gates to an eventual solid commercial trajectory.
Therefore, on the heels of the international conference and fellow biotech player Novartis’ Phase III results, the analyst reiterates an Overweight rating on AMRN stock with a price target of $10, which implies a 219% increase from current levels. (To watch Chen’s track record, click here)
“Recall in two Phase 3 trials, Vascepa affected inflammatory markers including hsCRP and Lp-PLA2 while also improving lipid biomarkers. CANTOS and other recently reported studies help to increase our confidence in a positive and commercial outcome for REDUCE-IT. Also, CANTOS, together with other recent CV outcome studies […] have all served to lower the bar with respect to efficacy results, with less than 15% RRR viewed positively even for drugs with significant risks. AMRN has not lowered expectations for REDUCE-IT results, but this lowering of expectations from other studies, we feel, gives a comfortable starting point,” concludes the analyst, who underscores, “According to physicians, an 8%-10% risk reduction in CV events would be considered a success for REDUCE-IT. 15% would be great, and 20% would be exceptional results.”
Chen’s bullish take aligns with the Street’s majority vote for this biotech stock, considering TipRanks analytics showcase AMRN as a Strong Buy. Based on 3 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, all 3 are bullish on Amarin stock. The 12-month average price target stands at $8.50, marking a nearly 171% upside from where the stock is currently trading.