Market Overview

Idenix and Spectrum Pharmaceuticals to Open Near 52-Week Highs


While the markets were down yesterday, news that Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD) would acquire Pharmasset (NASDAQ: VRUS) pushed some biotech stocks higher. Idenix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IDIX) and Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SPPI) reached new multiyear highs of $8.05 and $13.00 per share, respectively, in yesterday's trading session.

Idenix, like other companies focused on hepatitis C drugs, is also a speculated takeover target. That possibility prompted at least one recent analyst upgrade. The company also recently announced a stock offering. Idenix is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., and develops drugs for the treatment of human viral and other infectious diseases. It was founded in 1998 and now has a market cap of $782.1 million.

Earnings per share are anticipated to grow 29.0% over the next five years. While revenues are expected to be down about 4% this year, the forecast has them up more than 63% next year. But only three out of eight analysts recommend buying the stock. The share price is up more than 34% in the past 90 days and more than 76% higher than a year ago. Over the past six months, the stock has outperformed both Gilead Sciences and Pharmasset.

Spectrum said yesterday that regulators simplified approval of its lymphoma drug Zevalin. The company reported record revenues in its most recent quarterly report, and it continues to buy back shares. Spectrum is a commercial-stage biotechnology company, primarily focused on oncology and hematology. The Henderson, Nev.-based company has a market cap is $698.7 million and it was founded in 1987.

The 15.6 price-to-earnings ratio is higher than the industry average, but so is its operating margin. The return on equity is 37.6%. The consensus recommendation of six analysts following the stock is to buy it; their mean price target is more than 19% higher than the current share price. The share price surged in October and is now more than 179% higher than a year ago. The stock has outperformed competitor Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) and the broader markets over the past six months.


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