Deutsche Bank rates Sarepta a 'buy'
The company has tremendous upside even without accelerated approval for its DMD drug eteplirsen.
Deutsche Bank biotech analyst Robyn Karnauskas initiated coverage of Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) today with a "buy" rating. What I like best about her note is that she's shrugging off the uncertainty over accelerated approval for eteplirsen, a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and focusing instead on the stock's long-term value.
"Fundamentally, timing of approval does not matter in our view, but we do expect volatility around this decision," Karnauskas wrote. "Clarity comes in March/April 2013... Bottom line: Sarepta looks effective & safer vs. its competition. There is tremendous upside to increased investor confidence in this technology, as well as expansion into other exons. This makes the company unique in small cap biotech space."
Karnauskas does say that Sarepta could fall to $25 a share if the FDA doesn't allow it to file for accelerated approval of eteplirsen. (The stock closed Monday at $33.) I try not to take analyst price targets too seriously. The directional trend is more significant. Karnauskas is telling clients -- and I agree with her -- that panic selling will find buyers. If momentum investors and day traders want to throw Sarepta overboard, there are plenty of fundamental health care investors who will gladly buy their shares on the cheap.
This is the same level-headed Sarepta bull thesis articulated recently by health care investor and TheStreet contributor Dan Rosenblum:
A lot of investors are obsessed with the question of "Will Sarepa Therapeutics receive accelerated approval for eteplirsen?" The focus on the outcome of this month's meeting between Sarepta and FDA is understandable but misses a broader point: Sarepta at its current stock price is undervalued even if eteplirsen accelerated approval is not granted.
And what happens if Sarepta gets to file for accelerated approval? No surprise: Karnauskas predicts it could go to $48 to $71 per share. That's a ridiculously wide price range but the direction is all that matters and it's sharply to the upside. She's right.
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The company has made at least 4 acquisitions in the space, and few people have paid any attention.
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