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Biogen upgraded by Goldman on Alzheimer’s progress

July 27, 2017

Goldman Sachs upgraded Biogen Inc (NASDAQ: BIIB) from Neutral to Buy and raised its price target to $338 on the strength of the pharmaceutical company’s Alzheimer’s drug, Aducanumab.

Analyst Terence Flynn said the drug “could now be one of the first disease-modifying drugs to reach the market” and sell $12 billion at peak, up from $8 billion. Late-stage clinical trial results for the drug are expected as early as the fourth quarter of 2019.

Biogen got a clearer playing field when Eli Lilly and Co’s (NYSE: LLY) drug Solanezumab failed last year.

“Hence in addition to potential business development deals that BIIB highlighted as part of its strategic review (and where it has a historically strong track record), we’d recommend more aggressive share repurchases,” Flynn wrote.

A treatment for Alzheimer’s, which afflicts an estimated 5 million people in the United States, is something of a Holy Grail for the pharmaceutical industry.

“We expect partner Eisai to report data from a Phase 2 trial of BAN2401 by (the end of the year), which we see as a lateral catalyst for BIIB’s Amab,” Flynn wrote in the note. “We would view a strong signal in the Eisai Ph2 data as a positive for Amab. We are focused on a dose response on amyloid reduction and any corresponding effect on cognition.”

UBS Reiterates

UBS analyst Carter Gould reiterated his Neutral rating, but raised the price target from $270 to $285. He cited “inconsistent messaging over an interim analysis of Aducanumab” as among the reasons for his reiteration. “Compelling 2Q performance, but narrative unchanged.”

After falling Tuesday, Biogen shares were up more than 2 percent at $290.05 in early Wednesday trade.

Latest Ratings for BIIB

Date Firm Action From To
Jul 2017 Goldman Sachs Upgrades Neutral Buy
Jul 2017 Jefferies Assumes Hold
Jul 2017 Morgan Stanley Maintains Equal-Weight

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