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Why Are Analysts So Bullish On This Tumbling Biotech Company?


In the past month, shares of ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ACAD) have plummeted more than 45 percent. Granted that the biotech sector has been off to a rough start in 2016, but this 45 percent is staggering in comparison to SPDR biotech ETF, XBI, which fell 24 percent in the same period. Despite Acadia’s astounding losses, analysts continue to push the stock as a great buy.

Acadia’s poster child is Nuplazid, a pipeline drug being developed to treat psychosis associated with Parkinson’s disease. Needham analyst Alan Carr weighed in on the company back in September when the New Drug Application for Nuplazid was submitted to the FDA. He correctly assumed that the company’s request for priority review would be granted, as it is now designated as a Breakthrough Drug since it is the first of its kind.

At the time, Carr highlighted the drug’s “improved safety/tolerability profile relative to other antipsychotics,” adding that the drug may “be well-suited for a range of psychosis indications,” such as Alzheimer’s disease psychosis. At the time of this rating, ACAD was trading at about $39 a share. Carr reiterated a Buy rating on the stock with a $49 price target.

Between Carr’s September rating and subsequent update on January 25, ACAD shares had fallen 36 percent. Despite the dip, Carr continued to encourage buying Acadia shares, noting that Nuplazid is likely to be approved and launch within a month or two thereafter. Ultimately, Carr believes Nuplazid sales could reach $500 million, or even higher if it is approved for other indications. According to TipRanks, Carr has a 44 percent success rate recommending stocks with an average loss of 10.4 percent per rating.

Insiders have also been buying up shares of the company while shares are depressed. In early January, Baker Brothers Advisors bought over $74 million of Acadia common stock, according to SEC database. The Baker Brothers Advisors have a 55 percent success rate making profitable insider transactions with a 30.4 percent one-year average return per transaction, according to TipRanks.

Carr and the Bakers Brothers aren’t the only ones to tout the falling biotech stock. In late January, Charles Duncan of Piper Jaffray went as far as to upgrade Acadia from Neutral to Overweight with a $39 price target. Duncan commented, “ACAD is down 36% year-to-date… at these levels we believe the potential approval (including label) and early adoption [of Nuplazid] do not need to be ‘pristine.’”

Most recently, Acadia announced that the FDA is reviewing the New Drug Application (NDA) for Nuplazid. Since the drug has been designated as a Breakthrough Therapy, the FDA will have to make a decision by May.

Furthermore, many pundits were surprised by Acadia’s early January announcement that it is selling shares of its common stock to raise up to $300 million in capital. With Nuplazid already in FDA discussions, many don’t see the need to raise capital. The company last reported over $240 million in cash (compared to $322 million in the same quarter of last year), but this is sure to climb upon anticipated Nuplazid approval.

As Acadia continues to fall, analysts continue to pound the table. Hopefully Nuplazid will gain FDA approval and give ACAD shares the bump analysts are hoping for. All three analysts covering the stock are bullish with an average 12-month price target of $45.33, marking a 140% potential upside from current levels.

Latest Ratings for ACAD

Feb 2021Morgan StanleyMaintainsOverweight
Dec 2020Morgan StanleyMaintainsOverweight
Dec 2020MizuhoInitiates Coverage OnBuy

View More Analyst Ratings for ACAD
View the Latest Analyst Ratings


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Posted-In: TipRanksAnalyst Color Biotech Long Ideas Analyst Ratings Movers Trading Ideas General

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