Citi: Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. Will See Cancer Drug Data By End Of Year

Published: Nov 11, 2014

Citi: Esperion Will See Cancer Drug Data By End Of Year

November 11, 2014

By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Sr. Editor

Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. is still a good buy and will likely see significant success as it rolls out nascent portions of its pipeline, said Jonathan Eckard, a biotech analyst for Citigroup, on Tuesday.

“We continue to be buyers of Esperion with our Buy rating and target price of $63. We continue to view ETC-1002 as a valuable cholesterol lowering drug, a setting where many prior drugs have reached blockbuster status,” Eckard wrote in a note to investors.

He estimated that by the end of 2014, Esperion will have all key data in-house needed to plan an initial Phase III program for the drug. “We believe between then and an expected FDA meeting [around] mid-2015 will be a strategic period for the company, and the only window for a potential partner to gain access to participate,” said Eckard.

Investors should be aware of, but not spooked by, lingering concerns over a potential cancer risk from interactions between PPAR antibodies and ETC-1002, said Eckard.

“However we remain comfortable, not only because PPAR effects have not been seen with 1002, but the drug’s activated protein kinase activity supports potential for actual lower cancer risk as seen with other AMPK agonist, such as metformin,” he wrote. “Esperion will receive final two year animal cancer study results by YE and no news will be good news.”

Esperion last month offered 4,250,000 shares of its common stock priced at $20 per share, which should net the company around $85 million. Esperion has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 637,500 shares of its common stock.

J.P. Morgan and BofA Merrill Lynch acted as joint book-running managers for the offering, which closed Oct. 21, and coordinated with JMP Securities, Stifel and Needham & Company on the deal.

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