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Akebia Poised To Become 'Renal Powerhouse' With Keryx Merger, Raymond James Says

Priya Nigam

Akebia Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: AKBA) announced shareholder approval this week for its merger with Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: KERX).

The Analyst

Analyst Reni Benjamin of Raymond James maintains an Outperform rating on Akebia and raised the price target from $18 to $21.

The Thesis

The proposed merger of Akebia and Keryx has received approval from the shareholders of both companies.

The merger is accretive to Akebia and creates a “one-stop shop in the renal space,” Benjamin said in a note. (See his track record here.) 

The combined entity could generate revenues of around $202 million and $417 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively, the analyst said. Revenue could potentially reach close to $1 billion by 2026, he said. 

Hydroxia inducible factorprolyl hydroxylase (HIF-PH) inhibitors have shown positive clinical data, and multiple Phase III trial readouts for vadadustat are expected over the next 24 months, Benjamin said. 

Akebia has a strong cash position and several partnerships in place, he said. 

The company may not require additional equity financing in the near future, with Auryxia sales and revenue from various partnerships likely offsetting expenses from the ongoing Phase III studies of vadadustat, according to Raymond James. 

Auryxia is expected to generate revenue of $108 million in 2018 and $160 million in 2019, and this may increase to $309 million by 2026, Benjamin said. The analyst Benjamin expects vadadustat to enter the market in the back half of 2021 and potentially generate revenue of $606 million in 2026.

Price Action

Akebia shares were down 2.8 percent at $8.69 at the close Thursday, while Kerx was down 2.04 percent at $3.36. 

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Latest Ratings for AKBA

Date Firm Action From To
Sep 2018 Morgan Stanley Reinstates Equal-Weight
Aug 2018 Raymond James Initiates Coverage On Outperform
Dec 2017 PiperJaffray Initiates Coverage On Overweight

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View the Latest Analyst Ratings

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