Immunex Corp. shares fell $4.25 on Friday to $59.25 followingnegative comments by Oppenheimer & Co. analyst JeffreyCasdin.
Casdin said the Seattle company's flat fourth-quarter sales ofLeukine granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor endhopes for earnings growth based on sales. Immunex onThursday said it sold $29.1 million of the white blood cellstimulator in 1991, plus $4.1 million in bulk sales.
"Profitability will be a struggle for the foreseeable futurewithout income from new R&D deals which in turn will dilutevalue of (the) product pipeline," Casdin wrote.
Referring to Immunex's recently announced product exchangeagreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Casdin said, "We donot subscribe to the theory that increased access to oncologistsresulting from the recent acquisition of marketing rights toseven aging oncology products ... will result in materially betterpenetration of the chemotherapy market for Leukine."
"The war is over," the analyst concluded, saying that AmgenInc.'s Neupogen has won.
Casdin, who repeated his "short-term sell" recommendation,predicted break-even earnings for 1992 and 1993.
Kidder, Peabody analyst Robert Kupor lowered his 1992earnings estimate to 35 cents from 57 cents a share and his1993 estimate to 65 cents from 82 cents, based on thecompany's projected increase in R&D spending. Immunex saidThursday that R&D spending will rise 50 percent above 1991's$29.4 million.
But Kupor repeated his "buy," citing early results with solubleinterleukin-1 receptor to treat allergy. "I'm very impressed bythe fact that they're seeing a substantial reduction in allergicreactions in doses of 75 micrograms and even 35 micrograms,"he told BioWorld. The drug could be superior to Synergen Inc.'sAntril in terms of both potency and half-life, he said. -- KarenBernstein
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