The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: American Public Education, Apollo Education Group, Strayer Education, Xueda Education Group and Alexion Pharmaceuticals


For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – January 23, 2014 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the American Public Education, Inc. (APEI-Free Report), Apollo Education Group, Inc. (APOL-Free Report), Strayer Education Inc. (STRA-Free Report), Xueda Education Group (XUE-Free Report) and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (ALXN-Free Report).
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

APEI Upgraded to Strong Buy
On Jan 21, Zacks Investment Research upgraded American Public Education, Inc. (APEI-Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) following President Obama’s executive order to continue the educational benefits under the Department of Defense's Tuition Assistance Program.
Why the Upgrade?
President Obama has asked The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and Education to develop Principles of Excellence to be applicable for educational institutions opting for funds from federal military and veteran’s educational benefits programs, including Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Tuition Assistance Program.  
The Principles will inform students about federal educational benefits and the educational programs that they are eligible for. The Principles will ensure that the students are provided with accurate information regarding educational cost, estimated students debt and quality of educational programs and its outcomes.  The Principles will also ensure that the active-duty service members, reservists, members of the National Guard, veterans, and military families are supported with high-quality academic and student support. The Principles are meant to put an end to aggressive recruiting and other unjust practices within educational institutions.  
The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs will incorporate the clauses in The Principles in all the new agreements with educational institutions. The students will also be provided with an eBenefits portal where they can easily access information regarding programs and institutions.
Being an online provider of higher education for the military and public service communities, American Public Education will benefit from the recent educational policy changes. More students will be encouraged to opt for higher education thus providing the much needed impetus to enrollment levels.
Other Stocks to Consider
Other stocks worth considering in the education sector include Apollo Education Group, Inc. (APOL-Free Report), Strayer Education Inc. (STRA-Free Report), and Xueda Education Group (XUE-Free Report). Strayer Education carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while Apollo Education and Xueda Education carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Orphan Drug Status for Alexion’s Solaris
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) granted an orphan drug designation to Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (ALXN-Free Report) Soliris (eculizumab) for preventing delayed graft function (:DGF) in renal transplant patients. In DGF affected renal transplant patients, the transplanted organ fails to function properly immediately after the procedure. Kidney transplant patients affected with DGF have to undergo dialysis.
The designation is granted by the FDA to indications being developed to treat/prevent rare diseases (affecting less than 200,000 people in the U.S.) having significant unmet medical needs. Moreover, the status makes the drug eligible for seven years of marketing exclusivity in the U.S. following approval for the orphan indication. Additionally, this status also provides several other benefits to Alexion Pharma on the candidate’s development costs.
We note that Soliris is Alexion Pharma’s sole marketed product. Soliris is available for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (:PNH) and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS). Alexion Pharma is looking to expand Soliris’ label into other indications as well including the prevention of DGF in renal transplant patients. Alexion Pharma intends to commence a single multinational registration study on Soliris in DGF patients during the course of the year.
Alexion Pharma expects six product approvals within the time period of 2014 to 2018 including asfotase alfa (hypophosphatasia), ALXN 1101 (MoCD type A) and Soliris’ label expansion. Asfotase alfa is expected to be approved by year end. This will reduce the company’s dependence on Soliris for growth.
We expect the company to provide an update on its pipeline while releasing its fourth quarter and full year 2013 financial results on Jan 30. We expect Alexion Pharma to deliver impressive fourth quarter 2013 revenues driven by strong Soliris sales in the PNH and aHUS indications.
Alexion Pharma, a biopharmaceutical company, carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.
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