Rigel Pharmaceuticals (RIGL) Wins FDA Approval; BMO Lifts Price Target to $8


It’s a big day for Rigel Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:RIGL). The drug maker has just announced that the FDA has approved its chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) drug Tavalisse. Rigel plans to launch Tavalisse in the US in late May 2018.

Rigel shares reacted to the news, soaring nearly 8% in after-hours trading Tuesday.

Tavalisse is an oral spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) inhibitor that targets the underlying autoimmune cause of the disease by impeding platelet destruction, providing an important new treatment option for adult patients with chronic ITP.

Rigel CEO commented, “We are excited to bring this new medicine to the population of adult patients with chronic ITP in need of additional therapies. I want to thank the patients, caregivers and physicians who contributed to our fostamatinib clinical program, and also the Rigel team for all of their dedication and hard work to bring the company to this historic day […] This regulatory milestone, our first product approval, validates the therapeutic effect of SYK inhibition in an autoimmune disease.”

Principal study investigator James Bussel stated, “Chronic ITP is challenging to treat because the heterogeneity of the disease makes it difficult to predict how an individual patient will respond to available treatments and not all patients can find a treatment that works well for them […] The FDA approval of fostamatinib arms physicians with a new treatment option, which works via a novel mechanism.”

BMO analyst Do Kim opined, “Our estimates increase as we raise probability of success to 100% from 80%. We believe RIGL shares will also benefit from the favorable label, which broadens addressable population to patients with one prior therapy, in line with TPO agents. We expect additional upside to come from greater use in earlier treatment lines and accelerated development in AIHA. We believe a similar label for AIHA could nearly double our Tavalisse peak sales estimate to $1.1 billion.”

As such, Kim lifted his price target on RIGL stock from $6.00 to $8.00, while reiterating an Outperform rating on the stock. (To watch Kim’s track record, click here)

It appears the analyst is not the only one enthusiastic on this biotech firm’s prospects, with TipRanks analytics demonstrating RIGL as a Strong Buy. Out of 5 analysts polled in the last 3 months, all 5 are bullish on Rigel stock. With a return potential of nearly 44%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $5.90.