Analyst Peter Drake of Vector Securities International Inc. onWednesday called the sell-off of MedImmune Inc. shares"meaningfully overdone" on the heels of "unexpected researchresults," and issued a "buy" recommendation after the stock(NASDAQ:MEDI) tumbled more than 17 percent to $19.25 onTuesday. The stock picked up $1.75 a share on Wednesday,closing at $21.

In addition, according to MedImmune spokesman AnthonyRusso, analyst Jeff Casdin of Oppenheimer & Co. hasissued a long-term buy recommendation on the Gaithersburg,Md., company's stock, and the office of analyst Denise Gilbert ofSmith Barney reiterated her buy recommendation.

"MedImmune represents one of the true Tiffany biotechnologycompanies that is currently underfollowed by the Street andunderowned by institutional investors," Drake said.

The stock dropped after MedImmune reported Monday thatMerck & Co. Inc. has initiated new laboratory experiments andis evaluating whether to continue their collaboration on apossible AIDS monoclonal antibody (MAb) therapeutic.

MedImmune also announced that it has reacquired distributionrights for CytoGam, a polyclonal antibody for preventingcytomegalovirus disease associated with kidney transplants,and is beginning its own sales and marketing program.

The company also said this week that it filed a product licenseapplication (PLA) with FDA for Respivir, a polyclonal antibodyproduct for prevention of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)disease in children, the leading cause of childhood pneumonia.

"This is the first step in executing the company's strategy tobuild its own sales force for CytoGam and use it as a platformfor launching Respivir, if and when approved by the FDA," saidWayne Hockmeyer, MedImmune's chief executive officer.

"The company's not an AIDS player, it never has been," Russosaid. "This received a littlemore attention because it was AIDS and it was Merck. Thepeople involved in the stock as an AIDS stock are now out. Thestock is just where it was at the end of last week."

Added David Mott, MedImmune's vice president ofdevelopment and planning, "We've tried to encourage peoplenot to be overly optimistic about anything in the HIV field."

In the AIDS monoclonal antibody program, Merck had agreedto provide about $13 million over three years, beginning in late1991. Merck has conducted preclinical studies, Russo said, butmade no milestone payments yet.

-- Nancy Garcia Associate Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.

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