Shares of Regeneron (REGN) are up by 60% year-to-date as the drug maker has made the most from COVID-19 tailwinds. Driven by its coronavirus treatment candidate, antibody cocktail REGN-COV2, Regeneron has planted itself firmly in the public’s eye as one of the leading names trying to bring a viable solution to market.
On Friday, Regeneron further cemented its place in the public conscience, when it became known that after Trump tested positive for COVID-19, he had been given the company’s yet unapproved treatment.
According to his physician Sean Conley, Trump received a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s antibody cocktail as a precautionary measure before being taken to Walter Reed Medical Center. The antibody cocktail is currently in four late-stage clinical trials.
Given the lack of approval and limited current available data, opinions in the medical community are split on whether the drug should be considered as a viable treatment. While nowhere near conclusive, standing in REGN-COV2’s favor, are last week’s positive preliminary data from the ongoing Phase 1/2/3 trial. Results for the first 275 trial patients showed the antiviral drug cocktail lowered the viral levels and sped up recovery.
For Oppenheimer analyst Hartaj Singh, the “strong results” reflect Regeneron’s “budding infectious disease franchise.”
In addition to REGN-COV2, Regeneron has another catalyst on the horizon; A PDUFA date is set for October 25 for REGN-EB3, its investigational triple antibody cocktail treatment for Ebola virus infection.
Singh expects Regeneron’s pipeline investment to “pay dividends” in 2021 and beyond, noting, “Regeneron continues to execute on its pipeline priorities in 2020, while advancing its cocktail antibody REGN-COV2, where the company presented compelling initial data, especially among the more at-risk patient population… Over the last 1-year and 2-year timeframe, REGN’s stock has been among the best performers in large-cap biotech. Given revenue generation accelerating, OPEX investments in the pipeline and broadened sales coverage to potentially bear fruit in 2021 onwards, we believe REGN is only at the beginning of its re-rating and would be buyers on any sustained weakness.”
In line with his bullish view, Singh gives REGN an Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating and a $725 price target. Investors are looking at a 20% upside, should Singh’s target be met over the next 12 months. (To watch Singh’s track record, click here)
Among Singh’s colleagues, Regeneron generates mixed reviews, with the bulls cautiously leading the way. REGN’s Moderate Buy consensus rating is based on 8 Buys and 7 Holds. The bulls pull away more substantially where the average price target is concerned, as overall, the analysts expect shares to appreciate by 19% in the year ahead. (See REGN stock analysis on TipRanks)