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Analyst downgrades Baxter on Advate competition

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Cowen & Co. analyst downgraded shares of Baxter International on Wednesday, saying its hemophilia drug Advate faces a greater threat than he had realized.

THE OPINION: Analyst Joshua Jennings lowered his rating to "Market Perform" from "Outperform" and cut his price target to $67 per share from $77. Advate could face new competition next year from Biogen Idec's Eloctate, and Jennings said drugs like Eloctate could be used on 30 to 40 percent of hemophilia A patients by 2016.

"Advate's (market) share erosion could occur sooner and be deeper than our prior estimates had suggested," he wrote. The estimate is based on a survey of hematologists in the U.S.

Advate is one of Baxter International Inc.'s biggest selling drugs. In June the company launched Rixubis, a new treatment for hemophilia B.

Earlier this year Biogen Idec Inc. filed for approval of two hemophilia treatments. The FDA is reviewing Eloctate as a treatment for hemophilia A and Alprolix as a treatment for the less common hemophilia B. The agency is scheduled to make decisions on both drugs in early 2014.

Jennings expects the launch of Eloctate to put pressure on Baxter shares.

THE STOCK: Shares of Baxter International slipped a penny to $65.29 in afternoon trading. The stock is down about 9 percent in the past month.