×

UPDATE 1-Sarepta surges after stellar DMD drug powers on

(Adds details, analysts comments)

July 20 (Reuters) - Shares of Sarepta Therapeutics Inc soared 25 percent on Thursday after the U.S. drugmaker reported much better-than-expected quarterly sales of its Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) drug as the launch of the treatment steamrolls on.

Exondys 51 was controversially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September, bowing to patient pressure to get the drug approved, despite opposition from the agency's top scientists and a negative recommendation from a panel of outside advisers.

The drug generated sales of $35 million in the second quarter ended June 30, the company said on Wednesday. The result well exceeded analysts' average expectation of $22.9 million, according to Cowen & Co.

DMD is a rare, progressive genetic disorder that hampers muscle movement, eventually killing most sufferers by age 30, affecting some 15,000 U.S. patients.

Analysts cheered the results, noting the maturing pipeline development and expect continued progress with prescribers and insurers.

"We believe Sarepta is on track to become a DMD-focused power house," SunTrust Robinson's Edward Nash wrote in a note, raising its price target to $56 from $45.

At least 5 analysts raised their target price for the stock. Their median price target is $64.

Sarepta, which appointed former Allergan executive Douglas Ingram as chief executive last month, raised revenue forecast to between $125 million to $130 million for the year, with RBC analyst Matthew Eckler dubbing the outlook conservative.

Sarepta's stunning quarter could make it an attractive takeover candidate.

"We think it is only a matter of time before this type (of) performance brings buyers to the table," analysts at Robert W. Baird & Co wrote in a report, raising its price target to $101 from $96.

Analysts are bullish on the stock, with 14 of 15 brokerages rating it "buy" or higher, and one at "hold."

Sarepta shares were up 23 percent at $41.85 in afternoon trading on Thursday. (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Shounak Dasgupta)