Biogen Shares Surge 2% After Upgrade To Buy At Goldman Sachs

By Emma Court Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Biogen Inc. shares surged as much as 2% in premarket trade Wednesday after the company was upgraded to buy at Goldman Sachs and its price target was raised by nearly 20% to $338. Biogen shares closed at $282.96 on Tuesday. Goldman Sachs analyst Terence Flynn said that Biogen's Alzheimer's drug aducanumab "could now be one of the first disease-modifying drugs to reach the market," selling as much as $12 billion at peak. Late-stage clinical trial results for Biogen's aducanumab are expected in the fourth quarter of 2019 or the first quarter of 2020, but results for partner Eisai's Alzeimer's drug BAN2401 -- expected by the end of this year -- should reflect on Biogen's drug, Flynn said. The field for an Alzheimer's disease drug opened up more after a late-stage trial for Eli Lilly & Co.'s Alzheimer's drug solanezumab failed to meet its primary endpoint last fall. Though investors have worried about competitive and pricing threats to Biogen's multiple sclerosis franchise, Flynn said those were "overblown." Flynn also expressed high hopes for the company's "under-leveraged" balance sheet, and recommended more aggressive share buybacks. Biogen shares have lifted 1.1% over the last three months, compared with a 3.8% rise in the S&P 500 .

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