Healthcare Business Recap: Achillion Upgraded On Hep-C Drug, Questcor’s Really Bad Day
Two firms who make hepatitis-C drugs saw a change in fortunes Wednesday as Bank of America changed its stance. Shares of Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACHN) were upgraded to Buy, while those of Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDIX) were lowered to Neutral. The analysts are more upbeat on the market potential for the former’s hepatitis-C drug combination, and duly raised its price target from $7 to $13, but Idenix has troubles following the FDA placing a clinical hold on one of its hep-C medications.
Shares of Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOR) lost almost half their value on the day, subsequent to another negative report from Citron Research, which said that Aetna, Inc. (NYSE:AET) has dropped almost all coverage of Questcors drug Achtar for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and nephrotic syndrome, explaining that studies found no proof of efficacy to substantiate reimbursement. However, Aetna will continue to supply reimbursement when treating infantile spasms. At midday, Leerink Swann recommended Questcor as buying opportunity after it confirmed with Aetna that Acthar is being reimbursed as a second tier drug, and also that Acthar sales still see more prescriptions written, but the shares still had a downward distance to go at that time.
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