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Esperion Stock Plummets On Wider Than Expected Q1 Earnings Loss; Analysts Move To Sidelines

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Esperion Stock Plummets On Wider Than Expected Q1 Earnings Loss; Analysts Move To Sidelines
  • Esperion Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: ESPRreported a first-quarter EPS loss of $3.50, compared to $2.84 a year ago, which missed the analyst consensus estimate of $2.52.
  • The company reported quarterly sales of $7.98 million, which sharply missed the consensus estimate of $26.12 million.
  • The increase in total revenue was primarily due to Nexletol and Nexlizet being available for sale during Q1. But net U.S. revenue was negatively impacted by net pricing.
  • Esperion's Pro-forma cash balance was $297.9 million due to the $30 million upfront payment from Daiichi Sankyo and the $50 million payment from Oberland Capital to be received in May 2021.
  • R&D expenses for the full year 2021 are expected to be $120 million to $130 million. SG&A expenses for the full year 2021 are expected to be $200 million to $210 million.
  • In reaction to the results, various analysts have downgraded/cut the target price for Esperion, including:
    • Stifel downgrades to Hold from Buy with a price target of $20, down from $37. The analyst notes that he sees minor signs of accelerating script and sales growth for Nexletol/Nexlizet in the near term.
    • According to the analyst, the recently announced Daiichi Sankyo deal for bempedoic acid and the bempedoic acid/ezetimibe combination rights "sends a signal that there may not have been a lot of interest from other companies" and also that Daiichi is not interested in buying or that management doesn't want to sell, which takes the "bull case off the table."
    • BTIG lowered the firm's price target to $71 from $90 but kept a Buy rating on the shares. The company's Script trends saw "steady growth." Still, its gross-to-net discount has increased very significantly, the analyst tells investors in a research note, adding, however, that he remains positive on Zetia potential as a $3B franchise.
    • Northland cut the price target to $24 from $30 and kept a Market Perform rating. Given its current label, he thinks commercial adoption of Esperion's bempedoic acid franchise will be "lackluster for the foreseeable future" and also expects "material dilution" from fundraising.
    • Credit Suisse has set the price target to $36, down from $45, and keeps an Outperform rating. The "key disappointment" within Esperion's Q1 was U.S. revenue of $6.35M relative to the analyst's estimate of $11M, Frommer notes, adding that continued utilization of the company's copay card program and seasonal Q1 rebating dynamics appear to blame.
    • JMP Securities decreased the price target to $111 from $191 and kept an Outperform rating. The most important metric at this point in the launch is demand growth, forecasting the net price headwinds to ease in coming quarters, analyst notes.
  • Price Action: ESPR shares dropped 21.9% at 19.99 during the market trading session on the last check Wednesday.

Latest Ratings for ESPR

DateFirmActionFromTo
May 2021Credit SuisseMaintainsOutperform
May 2021Northland Capital MarketsMaintainsMarket Perform
May 2021Morgan StanleyMaintainsEqual-Weight

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