Shares of Amgen Inc. fell $1.88 to $61.13 on Thursday afterKidder, Peabody & Co. analyst Robert Kupor lowered his ratingon the company to a "hold" from a "buy."

Kupor told BioWorld the rating was not an implied "sell" on theThousand Oaks, Calif., company (NASDAQ:AMGN).

"People have a fairly tight consensus on Amgen projections forthe next few years, and this leads to the stock being fairlystable," he said. "It would take a significant new event to makeit go up from here."

Kupor said that at a recent wound-healing conference, he heardimpressive data from a small study on Amgen's platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) to treat bedsores. But, he said, "Ipicked up what appears to be an emerging consensus that therewill be a fair number of nearly equivalent products. This is apositive event, but not positive enough."

Amgen is likely to be third to file for marketing approval,after Synergen Inc.'s Trofak fibroblast growth factor (FGF) andTelios Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s Telio-Derm extracellular matrixof linked peptides, Kupor said. Likely to follow Amgen areCalifornia Biotechnology Inc.'s FGF and Novo Nordisk's PDGF,leading to a five-way market split.

By the time Amgen receives marketing approval in about 1995,it will be posting annual sales of about $1.5 billion, Kuporsaid, "so the incremental benefit of this will be modest." --Karen Bernstein

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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