Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights Amgen, ChemoCentryx, Mersana Therapeutics, GSK and Vertex Pharmaceuticals

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Chicago, IL – August 12, 2022 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the analyst blog. Every day, Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Amgen AMGN, ChemoCentryx CCXI, Mersana Therapeutics, Inc. MRSN, GSK plc GSK and Vertex Pharmaceuticals VRTX.

Here are highlights from Thursday’s analyst blog:

Biotech Stock Roundup: Earnings, Acquisitions and More

The biotechnology sector was in the spotlight last week during the publication of results. Acquisitions and collaborations were also in the spotlight. Other pipeline and regulatory updates also received attention.

Recap of the most important stories of the week:

Amgen second-quarter earnings, CCXI deal: Amgen beaten on both counts in the second quarter. It reported second-quarter revenue of $6.59 billion, which beat Zacks’ consensus estimate of $6.54 billion and was up 1% year-over-year, thanks growth in product sales. Earnings of $4.65 per share easily beat Zacks’ consensus estimate of $4.40 and jumped $1.77 from the year-ago quarter. Lower operating expenses and lower share counts boosted earnings in the quarter.

At the same time, Amgen announced that it would acquire ChemoCentryx for $52 per share in cash or about $3.7 billion. The acquisition will add ChemoCentryx’s newly approved drug Tavneos (avacopan) to Amgen’s inflammation and nephrology portfolio. Tavneos is an orally selective complement component 5a receptor inhibitor.

It was approved by the FDA in October 2021 as an add-on treatment for adult patients with severe active ANCA-associated vasculitis, specifically granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) (the two main forms of ANCA-associated vasculitis), in combination with standard treatment. Sales of the drug amounted to $5.4 million. Shares of ChemoCentryx nearly doubled on the same.

The acquisition has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies. It is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022, subject to shareholder approval and other regulatory approvals.

Amgen currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the full list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Mersana strengthens its agreement with GSK: Shares of a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Mersana Therapeutics, Inc.. surged after the company announced a collaboration agreement with GSK plc. The acquisition gives GSK an exclusive option to co-develop and commercialize XMT-2056, an Immunosynthen ADC that targets a novel HER2 epitope. XMT-2056 is designed to activate the innate immune system through STING signaling in tumor resident immune cells and tumor cells.

Under the terms, Mersana will receive an upfront option purchase fee of $100 million. Mersana is also eligible to receive up to $1.36 billion in the form of an option exercise payment and development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments if GSK exercises its option.

Mersana has retained profit sharing and co-promotion options in the United States and is entitled to receive tiered royalties on net sales outside the United States if it exercises this option. If Mersana chooses not to participate in profits, it is eligible to receive double-digit tiered royalties on global net sales. Mersana plans to initiate an early phase study of XMT-2056 to investigate its potential in a range of HER2-expressing tumors such as breast, stomach and non-small cell lung cancers.

Vertex Q2 Results: Vertex Pharmaceuticals outpaced revenue and profit in the second quarter. The company reported earnings per share of $3.60 in the quarter, which beat Zacks’ consensus estimate of $3.48. Vertex posted a profit of 17 cents in the prior year quarter. Strong revenues from cystic fibrosis (CF) products and lower acquired in-process research and development expenses drove net income.

Revenue of $2.2 billion, which topped Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.13 billion, was entirely comprised of revenue from CF products. Total product sales increased 22% year-on-year, primarily driven by higher sales of Trikafta (marketed as Kaftrio in Europe). Importantly, the company raised its previously released product sales forecast for 2022 from $8.4-8.6 billion to $8.6-8.8 billion.

This increase is attributable to strong sales of Kaftrio/Trikafta in international markets following new reimbursements recently obtained in France, Spain and Italy.

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ADR Sponsored by GSK PLC (GSK): Free Stock Analysis Report

Amgen Inc. (AMGN): Free Stock Analysis Report

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX): Free Stock Analysis Report

ChemoCentryx, Inc. (CCXI): Free Stock Analysis Report

Mersana Therapeutics, Inc. (MRSN): Free Stock Analysis Report

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