Friday, November 7, 2008

ZymoGenetics rises following analyst upgrade

Shares of ZymoGenetics Inc. rose Friday after an Oppenheimer analyst upgraded the stock, saying Wall Street now has a more reasonable view of the stock, and more modest expectations for the company's blood clotting drug Recothrom.
With shares down 71 percent over the last year, Oppenheimer analyst Kevin DeGeeter upgraded ZymoGenetics stock to "Perform" from "Underperform." He said sales estimates for Recothrom have decreased over the last few months and noted that ZymoGenetics is reducing the price of the drug.
In afternoon trading, shares gained 21 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $4.20. Earlier they climbed as high as $4.93.
The company cut the price of Recothrom on Oct. 1, the first day of the fourth quarter. When ZymoGenetics reported its third-quarter results on Nov. 4, Chairman and Chief Executive Bruce Carter said the company was already seeing the results of the change: he expects Recothrom sales will rise to about $3 million in the fourth quarter, a 60 percent jump from the third-quarter total of $1.8 million.
In a telephone interview, ZymoGenetics Director of Corporate Communications Susan Specht said the change was made because doctors were "price sensitive" as a result of economic conditions.
Recothrom is derived from a synthetic process, while most clotting agents - products designed to reduce bleeding during surgery - are made from human or animal plasma. Specht said recombinant clotting products such as Recothrom are usually priced at a premium to plasma-derived drugs.
Some patients given cattle-derived anticoagulants develop antibodies that fight the drugs, which can cause increased bleeding.
Even with the change, she added, Recothrom still has a premium to animal-derived products.
Analyst DeGeeter said the cut is intended to make Recothrom more competitive with King Pharmaceuticals ' bovine-derived coagulant Thrombin-JMI. He said he had been concerned in the past that price pressures were going to hurt makers of all clotting drugs.

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