In a report published Friday, Cantor Fitzgerald downgraded its rating on Ligand PharmaceuticalsLGND
from Buy to Hold, and lowered its price target from $28.00 to $23.00. Cantor Fitzgerald noted, “After attending a Hepatitis C lecture and speaking with physicians at the New York Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy on December 19 we are lowering our estimates on Promacta in the Hepatitis C (HCV) indication from $337M to $67.5M in 2017. Our reasons are as follows: (1) Physician awareness of Promacta in HCV is minimal a month after its approval and reimbursement is believed to be non-existent; (2) doctors indicated that low platelet levels are not a key reason for keeping very sick HCV patients off interferon treatments; (3) presenters indicated that effective non-interferon treatments are expected to be introduced in the next 2-3 years (which does not allow time for significant Promacta ramp, in our view); and (4) weekly prescription trends are not showing any significant pick-up since approval. We realize it is still quite early in the HCV launch, but initial signals thus far are not encouraging, so we are moving to the sidelines and introducing a HOLD rating.” Ligand Pharmaceuticals closed on Thursday at $20.42.
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