Shares of Amarin (AMRN), an Irish biopharma that markets a prescription fish oil medication called Vascepa, are on the move following the company’s presentation at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference. The stock climbed 13% during Wednesday’s session as investors cheered Amarin’s 2019 to-do list.
Specifically, Amarin reiterated that the sNDA for Vascepa is on track and initial physician feedback has been positive. Cardiologists in particular are appreciating the data and moving to prescribe Vascepa to patients, according to the company. The company also noted that ~400 sales reps are in the field, as of this week. The reps will be bringing the NEJM publication to physicians while the company waits for label expansion.
Cantor analyst Louise Chen commented, “Although nothing new was presented, the takeaways were good and the presentation room was filled. The sentiment was positive from those investors we spoke with who attended the meeting. We expect sNDA submission to expand labeling for REDUCE-IT before the end of 1Q19, with sNDA approval following a normal 10-month regulatory review cycle. We think this should drive an even greater uptake in Rxs.”
Amarin drew the ire of investors last week by releasing a softer-than-expected earnings forecast for 2019. Specifically, The company stated that its 2019 sales will come in at around $350 million — a figure that is well below Wall Street’s consensus estimate of $417.5 million. Management argued that investors shouldn’t expect a major bump in revenue until after Vascepa’s label is officially expanded by the Food and Drug Administration — an event that probably won’t take place until next year.
Wall Street, on the other hand, clearly thinks that doctors will begin to prescribe the drug off-label, presumably because of its demonstrated cardiovascular benefit in patients with persistently high triglyceride levels, despite being on statin therapy.
Indeed, Amarin has one of the best ratings by the Street. TipRanks reveals that AMRN has a Strong Buy analyst consensus rating with 5 back-to-back buy ratings in the last three months. Meanwhile the average analyst price target of $31.80 suggests the stock still has upside potential of just over 100% from the current share price for the next 12 months. (See AMRN’s price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks)