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Amylin Shares Rise Following Analyst Upgrade

Ahead Of The Bell: Amylin Rises Following Upgrade

From Associated Press (June 28, 2010)

NEW YORK -- Shares of Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. rose in premarket trading after an analyst said he is less concerned about competition for the drug maker’s experimental diabetes treatment Bydureon.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Jason Zhang said trial data presented this weekend at an American Diabetes Association conference raises concerns about the safety of Roche’s diabetes drug candidate taspoglutide. Zhang said taspoglitude’s safety profile looks "significantly worse than Bydureon," which is being developed by Eli Lilly & Co., Amylin and Alkermes Inc. "That, in our view, diminishes taspoglutide’s competitive threat to Bydureon," he said.

Zhang upgraded Amylin shares to "Market Perform" from "Underperform," saying he thinks it will take longer for taspoglutide to get approved, which would give Bydureon time to build a stronger position in the market. The Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to make a decision on Bydureon by October.

Swiss drug maker Roche said June 18 that it will delay its request for regulatory approval of taspoglutide by as much as 18 months because of safety issues. It said hypersensitivity reactions to the drug have been greater than expected in clinical testing.

Zhang now believes sales of Bydureon will peak at $1.9 billion rather than $1.5 billion, and he thinks Bydureon will gain a 40 percent share of a $3 billion diabetes drug market.

He raised his price target on Amylin stock to $18 per share from $12. In premarket trading, the shares rose $1.13, or 5.9 percent, to $20.44. The San Diego company’s stock finished at $19.31 on Friday.


Posted: June 2010