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Pharmasset Climbs As Analyst Raises Target

From Associated Press (July 5, 2011)

NEW YORK -- Shares of hepatitis C drug developer Pharmasset Inc. rose Tuesday after a Canaccord Genuity analyst raised his price target on the stock.

THE SPARK: Analyst George Farmer assumed coverage of the stock, maintaining a "Buy" rating and raising the price target to $160 per share from $57. He said Pharmasset's hepatitis drug candidate PSI-7977 has "blockbuster potential" and its pipeline is promising, as another hepatitis C treatment has also looked very effective in earlier studies.

THE BIG PICTURE: The Princeton, N.J., company said last month that it will expand a trial of PSI-79777 to see if it is effective for patients who have not responded to other hepatitis C drugs and to see if it can eliminate the virus in eight weeks instead of the normal 12 weeks. The changes indicate the drug is working well in the study. PSI-7977 is years away from reaching the market, as Pharmasset plans to report mid-stage trial results later in 2011 and will have to conduct late-stage trials after that.

SHARE ACTION: Pharmasset stock rose $3.59, or 3.2 percent, to $116.33 in midday trading. Shares have traded between $23.56 and $135.92 over the past year.


Posted: July 2011