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Goldman's Specialty Pharma Pair Trade: Sidelined On Endo, Bearish On Mallinckrodt

Goldman's Specialty Pharma Pair Trade: Sidelined On Endo, Bearish On Mallinckrodt

The biotech sector has seen some year-to-date strength, as reflected by the nearly 11-percent advance in the iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (ETF) (NASDAQ: IBB). The upward momentum became more pronounced in late June.

Against this backdrop, a Goldman Sachs analyst is recommending a pair trade in the specialty pharma subsector.

The Analyst

Analyst Dana Flanders upgraded Endo International PLC (NASDAQ: ENDP) from Sell to Neutral and increased the price target from $14 to $15.

The analyst downgraded Mallinckrodt PLC (NYSE: MNK) from Neutral to Sell and upped the price target from $27 to $28.

The Thesis

The specialty pharma subsector has outperformed the S&P 500 Index since May 1 in the wake of the first-quarter reporting season and improving fundamentals, Flanders said in a Tuesday note. (See his track record here.)

The group is generally poised to continue to meet or beat 2018 guidance despite mixed pipeline progress and low innovation relative to other therapeutic subsectors, the analyst said. 

Endo's Progress Encouraging, But Valuation Stretched

The progress Endo has made in its base business against a stabilizing pricing environment is encouraging, Flanders said. The analyst said he expects 2019 to be a strong launch year for the company.

Although Endo's valuation appears stretched in light of risks such as high-margin 505(b)2 product concentration and opioid uncertainty, Flanders said the risks are balanced against stronger operational performance and an improving generics environment.

Caution On Mallinckrodt

Mallinckrodt shares are trading well off their lows as Acthar trends stabilize. Goldman Sachs expects upside to consensus Acthar estimates for the second half of 2018.

The pipeline that includes VTS-270 and CPP-1X has risk, Flanders said. The analyst is cautious on Acthar into 2019 and in the long term due to the potential for the re-emergence of payor pressure and competitive threats.

Mallinckrodt has to effectively allocate capital to drive growth across its business, especially as its key products face competition beyond 2021, Flanders said. 

The Price Action

Endo shares were down 0.81 percent at $15.99 at the close Tuesday, while Mallinckrodt shares slid 2.91 percent to $32.04. 

Related Links: 

New Class of Migraine Drug Creates Four-Way Pharma Development Race

The Week Ahead In Biotech: Conferences, Clinical Trial Results, Earnings And IPOs

Latest Ratings for ENDP

Jan 2020UpgradesNeutralOverweight
Jul 2019DowngradesEqual-WeightUnderweight
Jul 2019DowngradesOutperformSector Perform

View More Analyst Ratings for ENDP
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: Dana FlandersAnalyst Color Biotech Upgrades Downgrades Price Target Analyst Ratings General Best of Benzinga


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