One of the advantages of having wide Wall Street coverage is the ability to constantly screen even the smallest tidbits of research that is put out each day. Many times firms will put out long-winded, excruciating detail that includes massive graphs and page after page of balance sheet data. Sometimes the data looks small in quantity but is actually huge in quality.
The analysts at Piper Jaffray have returned from meeting with some of the top biotechs the cover, and they have gleaned some interesting morsels that could be huge as the year wears on.
Here are four top biotech stocks to buy at Piper Jaffray that have updated data.
GW Pharmaceuticals PLC (GWPH) recently entered an agreement with Ipsen, a French pharmaceutical company to promote and distribute Sativex, its controversial cannabis spray, in Latin America (excluding Mexico and the Caribbean islands). Sativex is used to treat spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients, and has been approved in 24 countries, primarily across Europe. The company also announced the pending use patent on Epidolex could extend exclusivity of the potential migraine drug until 2032. This is another cannabis related extract. The Piper Jaffray price target for the stock is $73. The Thomson/First Call target is set at $54.50. The stock closed Wednesday at $51.
Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR) is a top name to buy at Piper Jaffray. The company's clinical pipeline and list of big pharma partners are an impressive list, to say the least. Despite having a whopping eight late-stage candidates, Nektar's market cap is a paltry $1.3 billion. Its top drug Naloxegol is being developed as a once-daily oral tablet for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation and is licensed out to AstraZeneca. Piper Jaffray has confirmed the FDA panel has switched the drug to the Anesthetic/Analgesic category. This could increase the probability of approval. Cutting to the chase, if the drug is approved next year, Nektar will receive up to $245 million in milestone payments -- some of which have already been triggered by the filing of the NDA. Piper Jaffray has a $20 price target on the stock. The consensus price target for the stock is $14. Nektar closed Wednesday at $13.16.
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Repros Therapeutics Inc. (RPRX) is looking to convince the FDA that the site 9 protocol "violations" in the Androxal P3 were not actually violations, so the 301 trial should be counted as positive. The analysts at Piper Jaffray believe the company has a strong chance of succeeding. To some extent it does not matter since Repros is running new Phase III trials anyways, but positive FDA feedback could help position the company for a strategic transaction. Androxal is a testosterone replacement therapy. The Piper Jaffray price target for the stock is $26, and the consensus target is higher at $31. Repros closed Wednesday at $21.83.
Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VNDA) is running radio spots for its non 24 drug, Tasimelteon. New awareness campaigns and patient identification doubled the database in a short period in just five markets. They expanded to 25, then 40 markets and are starting on national syndication. The company will use 2014 to figure out the best strategy for moving patients from the "warehouse" onto the drug, but once they have, the floodgates for sales should open. Non 24 is often a serious issue for the blind or people with extremely poor vision. Piper Jaffray has a $21 price target posted for the stock, and the consensus number is at $21.33. Vanda closed Wednesday at $13.66.
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While the Piper Jaffray information may drift out to other Wall Street outlets, the face-to-face meetings that provide this kind of insight on a stock can be critical for investors. We again note that biotechnology investing, especially in small cap names, is not for conservative accounts. These kinds of stocks should only be in aggressive, risk tolerant accounts.