Citi upgrades Merck, says the pharma giant’s drug pipeline is underappreciated
Citi is bullish on Merck , saying that the corporate’s drug pipeline is underappreciated by the market. Analyst Andrew Baum upgraded the pharmaceutical big to purchase from impartial. He additionally hiked his value goal to $130, which suggests 14% upside from Wednesday’s shut value. The financial institution mentioned Merck’s newly acquired portfolio of ADC , or antibody drug conjugate, from China-based Kelun-Biotech helps the corporate in “future-proofing” its oncology and hematology pipeline. The unique license and collaboration settlement for ADC growth helps Merck in creating extra most cancers therapy medication — and Citi thinks it might rival its opponents’ choices. “Merck’s TROP2 ADC is a materially under-appreciated competitor to AZN/DS dato-DXd,” Baum wrote in a Thursday notice, referring to AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s lung most cancers drug presently in growth. Baum added that “the medical information from early Chinese language trials [of TROP2 ADC] seems to be broadly comparable and even superior to dato- DXd and superior to Gilead’s Trodelvy.” Citi anticipates additional upside for Merck shares from the Inflation Discount Act. The agency believes sotatercept, Merck’s pulmonary arterial hypertension therapy presently in late-stage growth, “is the only largest beneficiary of the not too long ago enacted IRA within the US.” To make sure, Baum famous a key draw back threat to his valuation is that if the ADC pipeline disappoints. Additional dangers embody lower-than-anticipated worth share seize by the corporate’s Melanoma therapy drug Keytruda, and a slowdown in its animal well being enterprise. Shares of the drug firm have been up greater than 1% earlier than the bell. Shares have risen simply 2.5% in 2023, however have soared 32% over the previous 12 months MRKR 1Y mountain Merck & Co inventory —CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.