AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) remains a ‘top pick’ for Barclays, with the pharmco’s chief medical officer signalling 2018 will see no let-up in the drugs pipeline newsflow, WebFG News reports. The comments are a boost for the Anglo-Swedish group which is betting on new therapies in an effort to reverse a decline in sales prompted by generic competition to some of its top-selling treatments.
AstraZeneca’s share price has slipped into the red in today’s trading, having lost 0.44 percent to 4,863.00p as of 13:54 GMT, underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having climbed into positive territory and currently standing 0.29 percent higher at 7,469.90 points. The group’s shares have added more than 10 percent to their value over the past year, as compared with an over seven-percent rise in the Footsie.
Barclays upbeat on AstraZeneca
WebFG News reported today that AstraZeneca was Barclays top pick in the EU pharma sector and with the shares trading for 16.5 times 2018 core earnings, they were seen as ‘cheap for the growth’ on offer, with the pipeline “continuing to offer significant upside optionality to that growth outlook”. The analysts value the pharmco’s shares at 6,300p.
The analysts explained that AstraZeneca’s chief medical officer Sean Bohen had highlighted the forthcoming expected newsflow on late-stage results for Imfinzi’s Mystic OS and Kestrel trials, the triple respiratory product PT010, Lynparza as a first-line ovarian cancer treatment and roxadustat in the first half of 2018 alone.
Other analysts on blue-chip pharmco
Bryan, Garnier & Co and Citigroup both reaffirmed AstraZeneca as a ‘buy’ this week, without specifying price targets on the shares. According to MarketBeat, the Anglo-Swedish pharmco currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 5,226.27p.
Deutsche Bank reiterated its ‘buy’ rating on AstraZeneca earlier this month, following upbeat oncology drug trial results which the analysts argue are a ‘turning point’ for the blue-chip pharma group.