Rare Analyst Calls With Huge Upside in Vical and VIVUS (VICL, VVUS, BMY)

November 4, 2011 · Filed Under analyst calls, Cancer, Diabetes, Heart, obesity 

Vical Inc. (NASDAQ: VICL) and VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) are both running higher this Friday on news that Credit Suisse initiated both biotech outfits with “Outperform” ratings.  What matters more than the call are the price targets and the inferences made in the research calls.

Vical Inc. (NASDAQ: VICL) is rarely given huge analyst calls due to what is a small $250 million or so in market cap.  The team at Credit Suisse initiated Vical with an “Outperform” rating this morning but more important is its price target of $7.00 per share.  This represents more than a 100% move compared to the $3.45 close on Thursday.   What was more impressive was the $7.00 price target versus a $3.45 close before, indicating just over 100% upside.

Credit Suisse noted that Vical’s lead product Allovectin is in a Phase III trial for the treatment of metastatic melanoma but noted that it also has a pipeline of other vaccine product candidates. The firm’s discounted cash flow target is based solely on Allovectin, which the firm noted “makes Vical a high risk investment because Allovectin still needs to successfully complete Phase 3 and the FDA approval process.”  The firm went on to note impressive Phase II data with overall survival of chemo-naïve and experienced patients as being 18.8 months.  It further noted that the drug did even better in chemo-naïve patients with a median overall survival of 22.5 months versus 11.2 months from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) Yervoy+DTIC in chemo naïve patients. 

VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) was also started as “Outperform” with $15 target at Credit Suisse.  The firm noted the title “The Road to a New Obesity Drug Is Tough, but
It Ain’t Over ‘Til the…”  The firm believe that VIVUS’ weight loss pill Qnexa will be approved in the United States as a drug to treat obesity with a restricted label in the second quarter of 2012 and then will be approved in Europe in the third quarter of 2012.  Credit Suisse’s discounted cash flow based target price is driven entirely by Qnexa.  The firm went on to note, “which makes Vivus a high risk investment because our target price is dependent on US approval.”

Vical is up 5% at $3.62 on normal trading volume and VIVUS is up 4.5% at $9.92. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) is down 1.5% at $31.26 on the day.

JON C. OGG

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