Friday, July 14, 2006

Calls of Note Part 4

- Piper Jaffray is out positive on Vertex Pharma (NASDAQ:VRTX) saying they have learned that Bristol Myers is no longer developing its HCV protease inhibitor. Firm views the development as a clear positive for Vertex, as the BMS compound had been rumored to be highly potent, and investors had speculated it could have been a potentially serious competitor to VX-950.

With the exception of Schering Plough's Phase 2 protease inhibitor 503034, which the firm believes has a profile significantly less compelling than VX-950's, there are a few companies with compounds that still need to demonstrate proof-of-concept data to be considered serious competitive threats.

Believes the VX-950 Phase 2 trials are on track. A number of U.S. centers are now open for enrollment (13 centers so far shown on the website) and dosing in the European trial is expected this month. Feedback from investigators in the trial suggests this trial will enroll rapidly. Piper looks for initial 12-week viral load reduction data by year end, and SVR (sustained viral response) data in 1Q07 from patients that have received 12 weeks of therapy.

Maintains Outperform and $42 tgt on VRTX.

Notablecalls: Expect VRTX to see strong interest today. I would not be surprised to see some interest in other HVC plays including ITMN and IDIX as well. HCV is a major mkt oppy and big pharma needs to be involved. Even if it means buying up the smaller players.

1 comment:

notablecalls said...

Must say I'm somewhat surprised VRTX didn't see any real buying following the call.

Shows how bad the overall tape is.