Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc (SGYP) Trulance Has Solid Niche Market Potential Even Amid Express Scripts Setback

Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:SGYP) shares were on a 4% cave yesterday on the heels of Express Scripts setting loose its 2018 National Preferred Formulary. Bad news for the biotech firm: Express Scripts fenced off Trulance (plecanatide), Synergy’s chronic constipation drug from formulary coverage for 2018.

While BTIG analyst Tim Chiang acknowledged it was a bitter pill to swallow at first, he nonetheless remains in Synergy’s bullish camp, finding positive reinforcement in Trulance’s multi-million market potential just for this year. (To watch Chiang’s track record, click here.)

As such, the analyst reiterates a Buy rating on SGYP with an $11 price target, which represents a close to 184% increase from where the shares last closed.

Chiang explains, “While we were initially disappointed to hear that Express Scripts […] was excluding Trulance […] from its formulary for CY18, we believe the process of gaining formulary access usually takes up to 12-15 months. In addition, we think Trulance is on track to potentially gaining an IBS-C treatment indication in early 2018, which could improve the odds of Trulance gaining formulary access at Express Scripts, one of the largest pharmacy benefit managers in the US. We should hear from the FDA on an additional IBS-C treatment indication by January 2018 (FDA action date is Jan.24, 2018). A recent NEJM article on Irritable bowel syndrome (published in late June) highlighted the negative impact this disease has on patients’ quality of life and work productivity, with the direct costs associated with IBS in the US estimated, conservatively at greater than $1 billion. So far, the launch of Trulance has exceeded our expectations and continues to steadily ramp.”

With roughly 1,648 prescriptions distributed just two weeks ago and a refill rate hovering around 32%, marking Trulance’s 18th consecutive week tackling the market, Chiang sees encouragement here. The analyst finds solace that Synergy’s Trulance can establish “a niche in the chronic-constipation treatment market,” leading him to project sales to hit around $21.5 million for the year.

TipRanks analytics exhibit SGYP as a Buy. Out of 6 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 5 are bullish on Synergy stock while 1 is bearish on the stock. With a return potential of 182%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $10.95.

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