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Leerink analyst initiates coverage on Amicus

Wed, 03/31/2010 - 9:17am
The Associated Press

A Leerink Swann Research analyst started coverage of Amicus Therapeutics Inc. with a "Market Perform" rating Wednesday, citing a lack of upcoming catalysts needed to drive shares.

Leerink analyst Joseph Schwartz also gave the stock a $3.50 price target.

"Data from Amicus' lead product candidate Amigal, currently enrolling Phase III clinical trials for Fabry disease, is not expected until mid-2011," he said, in a note to investors. "Amigal is a relatively high risk program, which addresses an estimated $500 million market opportunity in the U.S."

Fabry disease is a disorder in which the body lacks the ability to store some fats.

He said physicians are impressed with the late-stage study's design, though it could still find success difficult.

"According to physicians, it may be challenging to demonstrate broad efficacy in the pivotal Phase III trial because of the high genetic variability of the disease on which Amicus' technology is predicated," he said.

Looking further ahead, Schwartz cited a positive outlook for use of the company's technology in other areas, including combinations with enzyme replacement therapy.

Shares of Amicus rose 1 cent to $3.39 in morning trading. Over the past year the stock has traded at a high of $13.50 last June and a low of $3.04 earlier this month. Shares fell sharply in October after the company reported negative study results from its potential Gaucher disease drug Plicera and ended its partnership with Shire PLC on treatments for genetic disorders. The company also cut jobs and its chief financial officer resigned.

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