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Ahead of the Bell: Analyst lowers Seattle Genetics

The Associated Press

Seattle Genetics Inc.'s lymphoma treatment Adcetris has struggled to produce sequential quarterly growth, and that has become a concern for shareholders, according to a Cantor Fitzgerald analyst who lowered her rating on the cancer treatment developer.

Shares of the Bothell, Wash., company sank 10 percent, or $2.48, to $21.99 in premarket trading Thursday, a day after the company reported third-quarter results.

Seattle Genetics said Wednesday that Adcetris recorded $33.7 million in revenue during the third quarter. That fell below analyst Mara Goldstein's forecast for $36 million.

Overall, Seattle Genetics lost $13.7 million, or 12 cents per share, in the three months that ended Sept. 30 on $49.8 million in revenue. The company's revenue more than doubled compared to last year's quarter, and the loss shrank.

Adcetris is the company's only marketed product, but Seattle Genetics also receives collaboration and royalty revenues.

Adcetris is used to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma and systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug in August 2011, and the company is conducting additional clinical trials to broaden its marketing approval.

Goldstein said in a Friday morning research note she lowered her rating on Seattle Genetics shares to "Sell" from "Hold" and reduced her price target on the stock to $20 from $30.

"While we like the longer-term opportunity for (Adcetris) to become a much more significant revenue-generating product, the company's valuation relative to the near-term prospects no longer looks compelling to maintain our (hold) rating," Goldstein wrote.

The treatment's revenue also fell below the $36.2 million forecast of Jefferies analyst Thomas Wei. But he had a different view on the reaction to that.

"We do not believe the near-term plateau in sales comes as a surprise to investors and remain confident on long-term Adcetris expansion in to new settings, which drives the majority of our valuation," Wei wrote in a separate note.

He maintained a "Buy" rating on the shares and a $28 price target.

Seattle Genetics shares have traded in a 52-week range of $14.61 to $29.82.