The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AT&T, Optimer Pharmaceuticals, ViroPharma, Astellas Pharma and Incyte

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AT&T, Optimer Pharmaceuticals, ViroPharma,
                          Astellas Pharma and Incyte

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, May 2, 2013

CHICAGO, May 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Optimer
Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:OPTR), ViroPharma Inc. (Nasdaq:VPHM), Astellas Pharma
(OTC:ALPMY) and Incyte Corp. (Nasdaq:INCY).


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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

AT&T Offers Home Security

Leading telecom companyAT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) will unveil the Digital Life
package, its home security and automation service, on May 3, in 15 cities
including Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami. The new product
includes security cameras, thermostats and locks that can be controlled from
phones and tablets.

The company targets to penetrate 50 markets with its digital life products by
this year-end. We believe that product diversification will enable AT&T to
grow beyond its legacy market and generate incremental revenues in the coming

The company stated in its press release that the market for home security
services remains significantly unaddressed as only 1% of the U.S. households
have automated security system. As a result, the company sees a potential
financial opportunity to tap an $18 billion market of automated home security

AT&T has so far seen more success in this market compared to its peers thanks
to its own technology in home security digital products and adequate measures
to market and promote these products.

AT&T has priced the equipment and installation of a home security package for
$250 with monthly charges of $40 per month. In addition, the company also
offers a camera package for $10 per month along with equipment and
installation, climate control for $5 per month, and a remote water main
shutoff control for $10 per month. However, a basic package with only security
would cost around $150 initially and $30 per month. 

Optimer's Dificid Cleared Down Under

Optimer Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:OPTR) received encouraging news recently when
the Australian regulatory body (Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration)
cleared its drug Dificid (fidaxomicin). Dificid tablets were cleared for the
treatment of confirmed clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in adults.

The product will be available in Australia from May 14, 2013 from Specialised
Therapeutics Australia Pty, Ltd. (STA). We note that STA has the exclusive
rights to Dificid in Australia and New Zealand.

Dificid's Australian approval was based on positive results from two phase III
studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of the drug in comparison to
ViroPharma Inc.'s (Nasdaq:VPHM) oral Vancocin in CDI patients.

We remind investors that Dificid, Optimer's sole marketed product, was
launched in the US in Jul 2011 for treating patients suffering from
clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea (CDAD) -- the most common symptom
of CDI. Dificid was launched in Canada in Jun 2012. Dificid is also approved
in the EU under the trade name, Dificlir, since Dec 2011.

Optimer has an exclusive agreement with Astellas Pharma (OTC:ALPMY), under
which Astellas has the rights to develop and commercialize Dificid in Europe
and certain other countries. In Mar 2012, Optimer entered into another
collaboration and license agreement with Astellas Japan. Astellas was granted
exclusive, royalty-bearing license and intellectual property to develop and
commercialize Dificlir in Japan.

Optimer reported Dificid net product sales of $62.4 million in the US in 2012
compared to $21.5 million in 2011.

While we are pleased with the company's effort to expand Dificid's market
globally, we remain concerned about Optimer's dependence on a single product
for growth.

Optimer, a biopharma company, currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Meanwhile, other biopharma stocks such as Incyte Corp. (Nasdaq:INCY) currently
look better positioned carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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