Company Update (NYSE:OPK): Opko Health Inc. Names Dr. Akhtar Ashfaq as Renal Division Senior Vice President, Clinical Research and Development


Opko Health Inc. (NASDAQ:OPK) announced the appointment of Akhtar Ashfaq, MD, FACP, FASN to the position of Senior Vice President, Clinical Research and Development of OPKO Health’s Renal Division, effective immediately.  In this role, Dr. Ashfaq will support the ongoing adoption of RAYALDEE® (calcifediol) extended-release capsules by healthcare professionals who care for patients with stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease (CKD). He will lead the further development of RAYALDEE for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) in adults with stage 5 CKD and vitamin D insufficiency who require regular hemodialysis.  He also will lead the development of ALPHAREN® (fermagate) tablets for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia in adults with stage 5 CKD.

Dr. Ashfaq was previously with AstraZeneca, where he served as Executive Director and Head of the CKD Program within Global Medical Affairs.  Prior to Astra Zeneca, Dr. Ashfaq was with Amgen where he served as Medical Director and North American Medical Lead for Epogen and Aranesp.  He is an academic nephrologist by training and has more than 15 years of clinical experience.

“We are proud to have Dr. Ashfaq join our growing team that is focused on developing and commercializing new products for CKD patients,” stated Phillip Frost, MD, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of OPKO Health.  “Dr. Ashfaq will play a major role in expanding our renal product offerings which are designed to improve the treatment of SHPT and hyperphosphatemia in CKD patients.”

Shares of Opko Health closed yesterday at $7.425, down $0.94 or -11.29%. OPK has a 1-year high of $12.15 and a 1-year low of $7.13. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $8.54 and its 200-day moving average is $9.76.

On the ratings front, Opko Health has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report released today, Standpoint Research analyst Ronnie Moas reiterated a Buy rating on OPK, with a price target of $14, which implies an upside of 89% from current levels. Yesterday, Jefferies’ Brandon Couillard reiterated a Hold rating on the stock and has a price target of $8.00.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Ronnie Moas and Brandon Couillard have a yearly average return of 5.8% and 16.1% respectively. Moas has a success rate of 70% and is ranked #87 out of 4513 analysts, while Couillard has a success rate of 76% and is ranked #98.

Sentiment on the street is mostly bullish on OPK stock. Out of 4 analysts who cover the stock, 3 suggest a Buy rating and one recommends to Hold the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $13.38, which implies an upside of 80% from current levels.

OPKO Health, Inc. is a diversified healthcare company. It operates through Diagnostics, and Pharmaceutical segments. The Diagnostics segment is consists of the pharmaceutical operates that the company acquired in Chile, Mexico, Ireland, Israel, and Spain and its pharmaceutical research and development operations. The Diagnostics segment is primarily comprised of the clinical and laboratory operations tit acquired through the acquisition of Bio-Reference and OPKO Lab and its point-of-care operations.

 

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