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WR Hambrecht Ups Genentech Rating

A Phase III study of Genetech's (DNA) Avastin met its primary endpoint of improving overall survival for colorectal cancer patients in the study. WR Hambrecht upgraded the shares to buy from hold.

Analyst Jason Kantor says his confidence in the company's long-term growth increased given the extension of survival in colorectal cancer patients treated with Avastin and a positive advisory committee meeting for Xolair. Kantor expects FDA approval for Avastin. He notes unlike other products, Genentech owns 100% of Avastin; he expects Roche to exercise opt-in rights for markets outside the U.S., triggering a significant payment. The analyst sees Avastin as a major contributor to 2005 EPS growth. He suspended his $36 price target, and expects to revise it upward. Kantor sees earnings per share of 28 cents in the second quarter, $1.15 for 2003, and $1.31 for 2004.

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