Exane BNP Paribas has turned bullish on AstraZeneca (LON:AZN), pointing to ‘concentration of value’ in the blue-chip drugmaker’s pipeline. The comments are a boost for the company which is counting on a string of potential new treatments in several therapy areas to help it return to growth.
AstraZeneca’s share price lost ground in the previous session, shedding 0.85 percent to 4,888.00p, underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index losing 0.21 percent to close at 7,285.74. The group’s shares have lost more than five percent of their value over the past year, but are up by some 10 percent in the year-to-date.
Exane BNP Paribas lifted its rating on AstraZeneca to ‘outperform’ yesterday, pointing out that no other large drug maker had “a greater concentration of value in its pipeline” than the Anglo-Swedish group. Proactive Investors quoted the broker’s analyst Simon Baker as commenting that given the inherently uncertain outcome for drugs in the pipeline, there was still ‘considerable risk’ but that he was also convinced there was even greater opportunity.
“Until earlier this year, risk was the focus,” the analyst wrote in a note, adding, however, that in light of recent successes in the PACIFIC and FLAURA studies, the FTSE 100 group had begun to crystallise some of its pipeline potential, establishing over $4-billion of peak sales potential from those two studies alone.
The upbeat comments come after analysts at Berenberg also recently reaffirmed their bullish stance on AstraZeneca, in the wake of upbeat late-stage trial results.
Barclays also remains bullish on the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker, having reiterated its ‘overweight’ rating on the stock yesterday, with a price target of 6,300p on the shares. According to MarketBeat, the company currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 4,878.00p.